News Update: December 5, 2011

Voting in the runoff round on December 5

Run-off voting is in progress today, as candidates compete for 52 seats that were not decided in the initial round of voting on December 28-29, in which only 4 candidates won decisive victories. Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri reportedly reconsidered some of his cabinet nominees over the weekend, after several proposed appointments were rejected by the public over their ties to the former regime. 


1) The High Electoral Commission announced official results for the first round of voting on December 4. The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) led the polls with 36.6 percent of the vote; the Salafi Nour Party came in second with 24.4 percent of the vote, followed by the Egyptian Bloc with 13.4 percent. The liberal Wafd Party won 7.1 percent and the moderate Islamist Wasat Party won 4.3 percent.  Figures for the 28 largest parties competing in the elections are available here. [al-Masry al-Youm, English, 12/5/2011] [Haaertz, English, 12/5/2011]

2) Run-off voting is in progress today for races in which no candidate won at least 50 percent of the vote, or voters failed to elect a farmer or a worker in the first round.  The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) announced that it has 46 candidates competing in the runoff round, compared to 56 in the first round. FJP candidates are competing directly with rivals from the Salafi Nour Party, and tensions between the two leading Islamist parties have escalated dramatically in the days leading up to the run-off round. On December 4, al-Nour leader Emad Abdel-Ghafour ruled out cooperation with the FJP, saying that the Salafi party had no intention of becoming a “follower to any other political force. “We have nothing to do with the Brotherhood, we have our own view,” Abdel-Ghafour said. During voting on December 5, altercations broke out between candidate representatives of the two parties who accused one another of distributing campaign propaganda inside polling stations in Matreya and other districts. [al-Ahram, English, 12/5/2011] [al-Ahram, English, 12/5/2011] [al-Ahram, English, 12/5/2011] [al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 12/5/2011]

3) An Egyptian human rights group, One World Foundation, reported lower-than-expected turnout and a range of violations, including harassment of monitors and exclusion from polling stations by military personnel, delays in the opening of polling stations, and unlawful campaign activities by party representatives. [al-Masry al-Youm, English, 12/5/2011] [al-Masry al-Youm, Arabic, 12/5/2011]

4) Candidates from the liberal-oriented Egyptian Bloc are resorting to using religious campaign propaganda to compete with opponents from the Freedom and Justice Party. Egyptian Bloc candidates were distributing leaflets citing their piety and support for religious activities such as building mosques. [al-Masry al-Youm, English, 12/5/2011]

5) Mohamed ElBaradei said that Egypt’s liberal revolutionary youth had been “decimated” in the first round of parliamentary elections and expressed concern about the rise of hardline Islamist elements. “The youth feel let down. They don’t feel that any of the revolution’s goals have been achieved,” ElBaradei said, noting that activist movements failed to unify in “one essential critical mass.” [AP, English, 11/4/2011]


6) Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri reportedly reconsidered some of his cabinet nominees over the weekend, after several proposed appointments were rejected by the public over their ties to the former regime. Ganzouri is expected to retain at least ten ministers from Sharaf’s government, including two holdovers from the Mubarak regime, International Cooperation Minister Fayza Abu El-Naga and Electricity Minister Hassan Younis. On December 5, Ganzouri announced that he had filled crucial post of Interior Minister, after several nominees declined the position, but said he would not announce the minister’s name until shortly before the swearing in ceremony, “for reasons of public interst.” The SCAF is expected to swear in the new cabinet by the end of this week. [al-Ahram, English, 12/5/2011] [al-Shorouk, Arabic, 12/5/2011]

7) SCAF Chief of Staff Sami Anan met with on December 4 with representatives of political forces to discuss the framework of the recently proposed Cabinet advisory board, which will include political leaders, presidential candidates, and public figures. The 30-member advisory board would assist the SCAF in administering the remainder of the interim period and facilitate communication between the military, the cabinet, and the public. The SCAF is expected to form the advisory board shortly after the run-off round of voting on December 5. [al-Ahram, English, 12/5/2011]


8) The government will soon amend Article 56 of the Interim Constitution, which relates to the SCAF’s powers, according to Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri. Paragraph 10 of the Article 56 states that the military council has the "other powers and jurisdictions accorded to the president in conformance with the law and regulations." This article also grants the SCAF the authority to issue or reject laws, appoint or dismiss ministers, and appoint MPs. The amendments are expected to include language delegating presidential powers to the prime minister, with the exception of authority over the judiciary and the armed forces. Ganzouri said that the constitutional revisions would be made before the swearing in of his new cabinet, postponed until the end of this week. [al-Masry al-Youm, English, 12/5/2011]

9) Following the Islamist victory in the first round of elections, the Muslim Brotherhood’s secretary general Mahmoud Hussein pronounced the supra-constitutional principles proposed in November by Deputy Prime Minister Ali al-Selmy to have “died” with the resignation of Essam Sharaf’s government, warning that anyone who tries to revive the draft document “would die with them.” [al-Ahram, English, 12/5/2011]

Photo Credit: Christian Science Monitor

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