Millions of Egyptians will head to the polls on 28 November in the first parliamentary vote after a popular uprising ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. The elections end decades of what was effectively one-party rule and will establish a parliament to lead the drafting of a new constitution within a year. If approved in a subsequent referendum, this constitution will shape Egypt’s future.
But few Egyptians understand the complex election system or know what the parties represent. “The election system is really confusing,” Saed Abdel Hafez, chairman of the local NGO, Forum for Development and Human Rights Dialogue, told IRIN. “Because people do not understand the system, they will most likely vote for the people or the powers they used to vote for in the past. This means that the next parliament will not reflect the new political realities created by the revolution.”
This, analysts say, could send protesters back to the streets and prolong instability. The election system is really confusing. Because people do not understand the system, they will most likely vote for the people or the powers they used to vote for in the past. This means that the next parliament will not reflect the new political realities created by the revolution.The election law adopts a mixed system – members in one-third of the constituencies (the smaller ones) will be elected in a first-past-the-post system, while members in two-thirds of the constituencies (the larger ones) will be elected through proportional representation. The electoral districts have been redrawn to suit the new system.
One-third of the seats are reserved for independent candidates, to give non-party members an equal chance. Some fear this will benefit former members of Mubarak’s now disbanded National Democratic Party (NDP), who are running as independents. But political parties can field candidates against them as independents.