Unpopular Egyptian Sales Tax Could Cut NDP’s Share of Shura Council
By Mohammad Baali
Albawaba.com - Amman
An unpopular new sales tax and an accompanying strike by shop owners have cast a pall over the ruling National Democratic Party of Egypt, and observers think the tax might prevent the NDP from sweeping the country’s Shura Council elections.
The first round of phase three of the elections, in which the NDP has so far pulled off predictable victories, kicked off Friday morning in eight districts.
The fiercest competition at the 14 polling stations is likely to be Cairo and Alexandria, where the protesting merchants’ blocs are concentrated. In Cairo, television announcer Gamilah Ismael is fighting a bitter battle with the former NDP Shura Council majority leader, Mohammed Ragab. Ismael depends primarily on the support of her husband Ayman Noor, the opposition MP representing Bab Ashaariyyah, as well as her ties to shop owners in this commercial area. Her husband has strengthened her bond with the merchants through his parliamentary activities against the new tax.
In Wayli District, rivalry has flared up between Minister of Manpower Ahmad Al Amawi and his foes, after a number of verdicts were issued ordering the change of his electoral status from a labor nominee to another category.
All candidates to the Shura Council are categorized under laborers, peasants, merchants and others.
The minister has attempted to reverse the verdicts, but his opponents, along with many opposition newspapers, have launched an ongoing campaign of criticism against him and the government.
The campaign poses the question of how the Egyptian government can claim to be democratic when one of its cabinet members does not respect the law.
The minister’s opponents have used yet another tool against him, which is the nomination of his brother, the head of the labor union in the governorate.
Critics have lashed out at the two brothers for running at the same time.
Despite slim vote participation that did not exceed 8 percent in the last two phases, expectations are that this ratio may fall even further, since turn out in Egyptian cities is usually lower than in the countryside.
The last two election stages covered most of the country’s rural areas.
Trade Union chief of Kafr Al Shaeikh, in the same elections. Critics have lashed out at the two brothers for running at the same time.
Despite slim voter participation that did not exceed 8 percent in the last two phases, expectations are that this ratio may fall even further, since turnout in Egyptian cities is usually lower than in the countryside.
The last two election phases covered most of Egypt’s rural areas.