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The Egyptians broke out in a revolution in January- February 2011, ousting President Hosni Mubarak and dismissing the parliament. The constitution was suspended and the Supreme Council of Armed Forces took over. The parliamentary elections in Egypt are scheduled to take place between November 2011 and March 2012. Egypt went into the first round of People’s Assembly polls in late November 2011. The second round was held in December 2011 and the third round is scheduled for January 2012. The turn out for the first two rounds has been high and the polls have been smoothly conducted, in sharp contrast to the 2010 parliamentary elections.

Background

In late December 2010 – early January 2011, Tunisia broke out in a revolution toppling the regime of President Ben Ali. In January 2011 Egypt was spurred by the success of Tunisia and revolts broke out in many parts of the country. Escalating demands for ousting of President Hosni Mubarak took the form of violent incidents. The autocratic president had ruled for about thirty years but was brought down by a mere eighteen day revolution involving the Egyptian masses. On February 11, 2011, President Hosni Mubarak resigned and the Supreme Council of Armed Forces took over. The parliament was dissolved. Free and fair parliamentary elections were part of the ongoing demands of the Egyptian protestors. Parliamentary elections were scheduled to be held as early as April 2011. But successive delays started to worry the people of Egypt. Prolonged military rule was undesirable. Then again the elections needed to be delayed to give newer political parties a fair chance at garnering support.


Contesting Parties

The major parties contesting the parliamentary elections are the Salafi Islamist Al-Nour Party (leading the Alliance for Egypt or the Islamist Alliance), the Freedom and Justice Party (leading the Democratic Alliance), the Egyptian Bloc (Free Egyptians Party, Social Democratic Party, Al-Tagammu Party etc.), and the Completing the Revolution Alliance (Egypt Freedom Party, Socialist Popular Alliance Party, Revolutionary Youth Coalition etc). A number of independent candidates are also running in the polls. The Freedom and justice Party was established by the Muslim Brotherhood, the group previously prohibited in Egypt by President Mubarak. The Salafi Islamist Al-Nour was initially part of the Democratic Alliance but formed the Alliance for Egypt after differences with the FJP.

First Stage of Parliamentary Elections (November 28 – 29, 2011)

The first stage of the parliamentary elections was held from November 28-29, 2011 in nine of the twenty-seven provinces of the country. The residents of Cairo, Alexandria, Damietta, Port Said, Assiyut, Luxor, the Red Sea, Fayyoum, and Kafr El Sheikh went to poll in November 2011. The turn-out in the first round of elections stood at 62%, the highest in decades. About 9.7 million of the 14 million registered voters turned up to cast their ballot. About 500,000 of these votes were nullified. The votes in the first round were cast to elect representatives to 168 of the 498 seats of the lower house of the parliament.

Results of First Stage

Islamist parties secured over 60% of the votes in the first round of parliamentary elections in Egypt. The leader of the Democratic Alliance, Freedom and Justice Party secured about 36.6 % votes while the Egyptians cast 24.4% votes in favor of the Salafi Islamist Al-Nour Party. The Egyptian Bloc garnered about 13.4% of the votes. The Wafd Party received about 7.1% and the Wasat Party got 4.3%. The Freedom and Justice Party came out to be popular among the Egyptians. An extension of the Muslim Brotherhood, the FJP formed on February 15, 2011.

Second Stage of Parliamentary Elections (December 14- 15, 2011)

In the second round of parliamentary elections held from December 14- 15, 2011, Giza, Menoufia, Beheira, Sharqeya, Suez, Ismailia, Beni Suef, Sohag and Aswan went to vote. The turn out for the second round of polls was high and the voting time was extended to 9 pm. The results of the second round of elections are expected to be declared on December 24, 2011. On Dec, 19, 2011, major tabloids reported that FJP believed they were set to win about 40% of the votes cast.  Similarly, the Nour party sources believe they shall receive 35% votes. The success of the Islamist parties seems to have been a major change after their ban by former President Mubarak.

Third Stage of Parliamentary Elections (January 3-4, 2012)

The third round of parliamentary elections in Egypt is due to be held in the provinces of Dakahlia, Gharbia, Matruh, Minya, New Valley, North Sinai, Qalyubia, Qena, and South Sinai from January 3-4, 2012. The results are likely to be declared by January 10, 2012. Following these three rounds of People’s Assembly polls, elections to the Shura Council will be held between January 29, 2012 and March 11, 2012. The president is likely to be elected by the middle of 2012. With the results of the People’s Assembly, a Constitution Committee is likely to be formed to draft a new constitution for the country.

 

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