A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Details of Egyptian Elections Emerging

Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has begun to spell out the details of the upcoming elections. Statements yesterday by the Higher Committee for Elections Chairman and today by an Armed Forces Spokesman have made a few things clearer:
  • Egyptians will vote using their national ID cards, so no registration process is required, eliminating an element that worked toward rigging elections in the past. No decision has been reached on letting Egyptians abroad vote.
  • The elections will be held in three stages, but both the lower and upper houses will be elected at the same time.
  • The rule that half of candidates for the People's Assembly (lower house) must come from the workers and farmers is retained.
  • Half the seats in the People's Assembly will be elected by party list and half by member-based constituencies.
  • Only two-thirds of the seats in the Shura Council (upper house) will be elected; the other third will remain vacant until after a Presidential election, after which the President will appoint them.
  • Twitter posts are reporting the Army spokesman ruled out international monitoring of the elections as it violates Egypt's sovereignty.
Most of the points strike me as positive or at least neutral, but given the track record of Egyptian elections, the last one is disturbing. Western countries allow international monitoring without feeling their sovereignty has been infringed.

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