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Elections countdown: 21 days

Sunday was the last day for parliamentary candidates to appeal decisions made by the elections commission as to whether or not they are able to run in the upcoming elections.

 

The final list of eligible candidates is due to be announced on Monday, and they can start campaigning for the first stage of parliamentary elections on Tuesday. 

 

The HEC has been hearing legal appeals for five days. While some media outlets reported that the court will issue its rulings on appeals filed by 130 candidates on Monday, others say the court is examining over 170 appeals nationwide, including the high-profile cases of billionaire steel tycoon and former leader of Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party, Ahmed Ezz, and that of controversial nominee, belly dancer and singer Sama al-Masry.

 

Other cases include appeals filed by parties and political coalitions, including the Egyptian Front and Independence Current, along with the Nidaa Masr Coalition, the results of which are also due to be issued on Monday. The Egyptian Front announced on Sunday that it would be pulling out of the elections if its nominees are disqualified as individual candidates, or excluded as a party or coalition list altogether.

 

According to the HEC’s official calendar, posted on their website, campaigning was scheduled to commence on Monday. However, the HEC’s official spokesperson, Justice Omar Marwan – announced that campaigning would be pushed back by a day, and is now due to commence on Tuesday and will last for 18 days.

 

In an interview on Sunday with the state-owned Al-Ahram news portal, Marwan commented that some parliamentary candidates have already violated the HEC’s designated schedule for campaigning, taking advantage of the Eid al-Adha religious holiday (from September 23 – 27) to promote themselves in their constituencies.

 

Marwan said the HEC’s local monitoring committees have begun investigating these violations, but didn’t specify in which governorates they had taken place.

 

Al-Shorouk Newspaper reported that numerous campaigning violations were witnessed in the central governorate of Minya during the Eid holiday. At least two candidates in Minya City reportedly offered meat to members of their electoral circuit for Eid, according to the privately owned newspaper.  

 

At least four parliamentary candidates in Abu Qurqas constituency also reportedly hung banners and billboards to promote themselves, along with their campaign symbols and the phone numbers for their campaign offices, Al-Shorouk added.

 

An unspecified number of parliamentary candidates in Minya also reportedly violated electoral guidelines by engaging in door-to-door campaigns, whilst others are said to have lured potential voters into their campaign offices in the hope of winning their ballots.

 

The mouthpiece of the liberal Al-Wafd Party, reported that several candidates in the northern Suez Canal governorate of Port Said had also exploited Eid al-Adha to promote their candidacies. Al-Wafd claimed they distributed Qurans, balloons, bags of candy and campaign leaflets to attendees at mosques for Eid prayers.

 

Al-Wafd newspaper also published a photo of a candidate’s banners — Professor Al-Sayyed Shehata — which were reportedly hanging on the gates of a public garden.

 

The Wafd Party issued a statement on Sunday, in which it announced that any members who win seats in the upcoming parliament “will be at the forefront of the supporters of President [Abdel Fattah al-]Sisi, his policies and actions, both domestically and internationally.”

 

According to Al-Ahram, the HEC’s media oversight committee — presided over by Hassan Emad Mekkawi — reportedly sent notices “to some satellite channels” regarding their “negative performance,” urging them to abide by the official guidelines for electoral campaigns. 

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