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Egypt vote on november 21

By on September 18, 2011

Taking the first step towards establishing a new democracy in the pivotal country, Egypt’s election commission chief has proposed

November 21 to March 4 as the timeframe for the first parliamentary election following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.

“A proposed timetable is in place for parliamentary and senate elections, with the first stage of parliamentary elections starting on November 21,” Abdel Muiz Ibrahim, the head of the electoral committee, told Al-Ahram newspaper on Sunday, September 18.

Voting for the lower house of the parliament, the People’s Assembly, would go on from November 21 till January 3.

Elections for the upper house, the Shura Council, will begin on January 22, 2012 and finish on March 4.

The news could not be confirmed by other officials in the election commission.

The state news agency MENA, however, quoted a source at the commission as saying that the commission had recommended the January and November start dates to the ruling military council.

“The military council will issue a decree on September 26 fixing a final date for the election for the People’s Assembly and the Shura Council,” MENA quoted the official as saying.

Said Eissa, head of political news at Al-Ahram, confirmed the news that the military council will announce the dates in the last week in September, Reuters reported.

The vote will be the first since president Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in February.

The military council, which took over from Mubarak, has been under popular pressure to fix a date for the election it promised.

No date has been fixed for the presidential poll, which the military council has said was to follow the parliamentary vote.

Many Egyptians are worried the military council was dragging its feet in preparations for a transition to democracy with some voices fearing that the council was hesitant about handing power to civilians.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which was once seen as the least critical of the military council, had joined calls for an election timetable.

Change in Plans

A high-level meeting was held today between Egypt’s military council number two, Chief of Staff Sami Anan, and representatives of different political groups and official parties to discuss the details concerning Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections.

According to Mohamed Attia, minister of local development, the meeting will discuss the possibility of applying the electoral list voting system only instead of the mixed system proposed by the interim government.

“There are three reasons behind reconsidering the electoral system,” Attia told Al-Ahram daily paper.

“First: using the electoral list system will give a bigger chance for parties and alliances to form electoral bases.

“Second: the new system will minimize the possibility of intimidation and violence that the single seat system would propitiate,” he added.

“Third: there will be a list for independents who do not want to be part of any other political or electoral coalition.”

Earlier this year, Egypt’s political parties and movements have sharply criticized a draft of the law that establishes new distribution of electoral constituents and divides parliamentary seats between a party list system and individual candidacy.

But, the new expected change in the electoral system means that election district law will also have to change, Attia said.

This might require further delay to elections even though both the government and the military council insist that they will stick to the announced date.

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