The House of Representatives is close to convening, with half already elected in October and the second half set to be chosen within days.
The parliament includes various types of candidates and political currents, between political party members and independent candidates. Nearly 10 political parties will be present in the parliament, the largest being the Free Egyptians Party (FEP), Future of a Nation (FNP) Al-Wafd and Al-Nour parties.
Nonetheless, none of these parties can claim a majority of voices inside the parliament, as politicians are concerned over how the parliament will be run, since there currently is no majority party in Egypt.
Some have been discussing forming internal alliances, including Sameh Seif El-Yazal, who headed the “For the Love of Egypt” electoral list that won 120 seats in the parliament.
The list included different parties and independent candidates, but El-Yazal previously announced his intentions to coordinate with other candidates to form a parliamentary force, because a two-thirds majority of the parliament is required to pass legislations.
Ramy Mohsen, head of the National Center for Parliamentary Consulting, a local NGO, believes El-Yazal’s initiative is “legitimate”, based on a constitutional article that allowed either “the party or the coalition that holds the majority or the highest number of seats in the House of Representatives”.
According to Mohsen’s interpretation, such coalition will have a formal shape inside the parliament, a leader and a spokesperson, depending on how it will be organised when parliamentary regulations are finalised.
“On the other hand, other unofficial alliances can be formed, such as between candidates of Upper Egypt for instance, but these would be informal agreements to work together as a team,” Mohsen said.
Runoff elections kicked off Tuesday in 13 governorates. including Cairo. A total of 426 candidates are in competition over 213 individual parliamentary seats, according to the state-affiliated National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) observatory mission.
The runoffs of the second phase are taking place on Tuesday and Wednesday in Cairo, Daqahleya, Gharbeya, Qaliubiya, Menufiya, Kafr El-Sheikh, Ismailia, Suez, Sharqeya, Port Said, North Sinai, South Sinai and Damietta.
A first electoral phase concluded last October, with runoff elections completed as well. On 5 and 6 December, elections will be repeated in some constituencies where the court annulled final results.
Only nine of those succeeded in securing seats in the first round during November, according to official results announced by the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC).
Observatory missions and journalists reportedly witnessed numerous violations on behalf of the candidates, on top of which came bribery.
On Tuesday, Maat for Peace and Development posted a video that showed two men distributing money to people who appeared to be voters coming out of a polling station. One of the two men was also seen checking that the voters had phosphoric ink on their fingers as a proof of having cast their votes.
A caption under the video read: “Boulaq constituency, Cairo governorate, a few people, believed to be affiliated with candidate Mohamed Hamouda, are giving EGP 50 in exchange for each vote.”
Usually, as elections conclude, competition intensifies between candidates, reflected in disputes or clashes between members of different candidates, as well as conflicts with security forces facing violations they commit, such as breaking the electoral silence.
Maat’s observatory mission already docimented some such cases on Tuesday. “In Menufiya, in the constituency of Kwesna- Berket El-Saba’, a verbal altercation occurred between the supporters of candidate Sami Fatoh and forces securing Al-Massae school because of attempts at directing voters in front of the polling station,” Maat reported, as one example among many others.
Political parties have also been actively engaged in monitoring elections, especially when following their rivals’ infringements, and have formed special operation rooms. For instance, the Conference Party claimed in its Tuesday morning report that a candidate was buying votes at EGP 250 each in front of a school in the central constituency of the governorate of Ismailia.
Furthermore, Journalists Against Torture Observatory (JATO), an independent local organisation, reported on a few cases where journalists were prevented from electoral coverage in Kafr Al-Sheikh governorate, despite being authorised to do so.