Egypt's Ruling NDP Rebels Face Old Colleagues in Shura Council Elections
By Mohammad Baali
Albawaba.com - Cairo
Candidates for the Egyptian Shura (Consultative) Council elections, which will kick off on May 16, have begun their election campaigns, and the most sparks are flying in races featuring dissident National Democratic Party (NDP) members.
Most of these candidates have announced that they will run campaigns based on the ruling National Party’s principles, maintaining that their candidacy is simply a protest against the party’s inadequate way of nominating its representatives.
In an attempt to counteract this trend, the general secretariat of the National Party has issued a resolution threatening to dismiss any members who do not abide by the party’s official nominations.
Most of these candidates view this resolution as a routine one, the kind usually issued before election.
They said the party would welcome back any breakaway candidate who won his race, as was the case with the recent Peoples’ Assembly elections. The consensus among them is to keep running despite the threats.
In other respects, these are shaping up to be weakly contested elections, with both voters and opposition party members lacking interest.
Apart from the National Party dissidents, the only other friction has been the arrest of dozens of Islamic Brotherhood members to forcibly prevent them from running.
The number of candidates throughout Egypt is very low. Two candidates from the Assembly Party, three from the Nasserist Party and three from Wafd party have been nominated, while only four candidates from the Islamic Brotherhood group have managed to dodge the arrest campaigns aimed at them.
The most recent of these campaigns was carried out in Alexandria and Al Sharkiyyah provinces last weekend, when 15 members of the brotherhood were arrested and referred to the State Higher Security Court which ordered their detention for 15 days.
One Assembly Party Politburo member, Hussein Abdul Razzaq, told Albawaba.com that there were several reasons for the token participation of the opposition parties in the Shura Council elections.
The most important of these, he said, is the fact that the electoral districts for the Shura Council are varied, making it difficult for candidates to find a familiar constituency.
Furthermore, said the Assembly Party member, the candidate needs a great deal of money for the extraordinary expenditure in these elections, which exceed even those of the Peoples’ Assembly races. The resources of the political parties are scarce, and so they cannot afford this immense expenditure, he added.
“The Shura Council has neither legislative nor supervisory power,” he pointed out. “It is just a platform for expressing attitudes and discussions, and so it does not make much difference for the party to have a large or a small number of representatives in it,” Abdul Razzak indicated.
Abul Razzak stressed that neither projects nor issues will be raised in the election, and that the key issue will be regarding the breakaway members of the National Party - Albawaba.com