Cairo, Asharq Al-Awsat—Egypt’s parliamentary elections are to be held by the end of this year, the government announced on Sunday.
A government statement said President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi had discussed plans to hold parliamentary elections by the end of the year with visiting Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo y Marfil on Sunday.
The elections are the final step in a political road map drawn up in the wake of the ousting of former president Mohamed Mursi last year. The first two steps—the adoption of a new constitution and the election of a new president—have already been completed.
A spokesman for Sisi’s office, Ihab Badawi, said: “The Egyptian president explained to the Spanish side our vision for the developments in the internal situation in Egypt, and the preparations to complete the last part of the road map represented by the parliamentary elections before the end of this year.”
Badawi added: “The president emphasized Cairo’s hope for the continuation of the Spanish position in understanding developments in Egypt, as well as the continuation of Madrid’s support for Egypt’s efforts to establish a democratic political system and fight terrorism, especially in light of Spanish expertise in dealing with terrorism.”
Meanwhile, Egyptian politicians are continuing their efforts to form alliances between the country’s numerous fractious political parties, as the elections draw closer.
Despite a number of political parties already announcing electoral alliances, and the election lists being announced only after the Eid Al-Fitr holiday on Wednesday, the final shape of the new alliances has yet to emerge, observers of Egypt’s political scene have said.
A number of political sources, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on condition of anonymity, blamed the delay on infighting over leadership roles within possible alliances. One source also said the delay was due to “the presence of personalities affiliated to the defunct National [Democratic] Party [of former president Hosni Mubarak], in addition to some alliances controlled by businessmen, which increases parties’ concerns.”
Another source warned of growing fears that the number of alliances being formed risked splitting the vote, and “may open the door for the Islamist movements to infiltrate parliament again.”
Egypt’s last parliament was dissolved by judicial decree in 2012, on the grounds that some legislators affiliated with Islamist parties had won seats reserved for independents.
In a press statement on Sunday, Dr. Ahmed Darraj, a leading figure in the 25–30 Alliance, put the delay in the formation of political alliances down to the “election situation remaining unclear,” and the difficulty of coordinating the efforts of a large number of different parties within each coalition.
Darraj added that the short lifespan of an election alliance was another reason for the delays, because the alliances were not expected to last beyond the elections.
Dr. Mustafa El-Nahas, secretary-general of the Egyptian National Movement, warned political parties against disagreement over alliances and stressed the importance of coordination to prevent hardline movements winning power.
He said in a statement issued on Sunday that he hoped Egypt’s mainstream parties would unite in one or two alliances at most.
The new constitution stipulates that parliamentary elections should be held within a period of no longer than six months from the date of its adoption, which occurred in January. However, a number of delays have occurred, leading the government to push the date of the elections back. The final dates of the election are expected to be announced soon.
The next parliament is expected to play a bigger role in governing Egypt because of constitutional changes adopted at the beginning of 2014, which granted the country’s legislature wider powers.