592 Egyptians from different political parties have registered to run for the country’s Shura Council membership, to be held over three stages starting on May 16, said the weekly Egypt online on Monday.
Eighty applications from nominees were received Saturday by security departments, raising the number from 512 to 592, it said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Interior Habib Al-Adly said the police will play an effective role in securing the Shura Council mid-term elections and provide a climate proper for vote-casting freedom.
In a meeting held by Adly Sunday with assistants and security directors at Cairo, lower Egypt and Suez canal governorates, the minister discussed the measures to secure proceedings of the Shura elections, said the weekly.
Adly stressed cooperation with members of the judicial bodies concerned with direct supervision of voting, considering equal opportunities for all nominees.
Up for grabs are 88 seats representing 67 constituencies, said Al-Ahram weekly.
Each stage will witness elections in eight governorates. During the first state candidates will vie for a total of 30 seats in the governorates of Giza, Qalioubiya, Menoufiya, Beheira, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Qena and Northern Sinai.
Run-off elections will be held on May 22, the paper said.
Starting May 27 , the beginning of the second stage, voters will go to the polls in Al-Sharqiya, Al-Daqahliya, Damietta, Al-Gharbiya, Ismailia, Suez, Southern Sinai and the Red Sea, it added.
On June 2, run-off elections will be conducted, the paper said, adding that competition in this stage will focus on 25 seats.
As for the third stage, lasting from 7 until 12 June, it comprises the governorates of Cairo, Alexandria, Kafr Al-Sheikh, Al-Minya, Assiut, Sohag, Aswan and the New Valley.
Thirty-three seats will be filled in this final stage.
According to the paper, no elections will be held in the two governorates of Marsa Matruh and Port Said because the membership of their two representatives is valid until 2004.
NDP INTRODUCES NEW SYSTEM FOR CHOOSING CANDIDATES
Meanwhile, the paper said that a new system was introduced this year by the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) for choosing its candidates.
The system, known as the "down-up" or the electoral community system, gave members of the party, at district levels, the absolute right to nominate in a secret ballot the candidates they believe have the best chance of success.
At first glance, the paper said that the this system appears to be a step towards increased democratization. However, it was generally interpreted as an attempt by leading NDP officials to be able to deny responsibility for the choice of candidates before the party's chairman, President Hosni Mubarak, in the event that the candidates are unsuccessful at the polls.
The NDP has, in less than six months, suffered two humiliating defeats in the elections of the People's Assembly and the Lawyers' Syndicate, while the opposition parties and the banned Muslim Brotherhood, encouraged by judicial supervision and in an attempt to escape political isolation, have decided to actively participate in all types of polls, the paper added.
On Tuesday, the NDP secretariat-general met to endorse the official list of its 88 candidates.
According to this, the NDP is nominating two cabinet ministers. One of them, Minister of Manpower Ahmed El-Amawi, and the second is Minister of Petroleum Sameh Fahmi.
In the 1998 elections, in which the NDP easily won all 88 contested seats, the number of candidates stood at almost 400.
The Shura Council, established by late President Anwar Sadat in 1980, is made up of 264 members.
Two-thirds of them are chosen by secret ballot in general elections and the remaining third are appointed by the president. The council's functions include preparing reports on current issues and debating laws that are considered supplementary to the Constitution before they are sent to the People's Assembly. President Mubarak decided two years ago to empower the council to debate the state's annual socio-economic plan and budget – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )