“Combating terrorism is a human right, a new right that I am adding to human rights in Egypt.” Met deze woorden verdedigt president Sisi van Egypte zijn repressieve beleid. In de aanloop naar de presidentsverkiezingen verslechtert de situatie met de dag. Politieke activisten worden bedreigd, berecht en opgesloten. Een groot deel van hen hangt een jarenlange gevangenisstraf of zelfs de doodstraf boven het hoofd. Sisi voert dit offensieve beleid om naar eigen zeggen het land tegen terrorisme te wapenen. De prijs die hiervoor betaald wordt is hoog, te hoog. De vrijheid van meningsuiting, vereniging en informatie worden keer op keer ingeperkt en elke oppositie wordt de kop ingedrukt.
Between the 8th and 11th of October the European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity organized the first training weekend in the framework of the Future Leaders project. The training was attended by young representatives of social democratic and progressive political parties from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. It took place in Amman (Jordan) and focused on ideology, communication and campaigning. The Future Leaders training course is supported by the UK Labour Party through the Westminster Foundation. Our partner in Jordan, the Al Sindyan Institute provided great assistance in making the training possible, while the UK Labour Party and the Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS) provided each one trainer to conduct the training.
On the 18th and 19th of October Egyptian residents will vote in the first round of the elections for the House of Representatives, including in the governorates of Alexandria, Luxor and the Red Sea. On the 21st and 22nd of November the second round of the elections will be held, including in the governorates of Cairo, Suez and Sinai. A total of 27 million voters are registered to vote in the first round, while some 2,500 candidates are eligible for 286 seats in the elections in 14 governorates. It will be the first parliamentary elections since the last elections in 2011/2012. The 2014 Constitution abolished the old Shura Council (Upper House) and the old People’s Assembly (Lower House) was replaced by the House of Representatives, that will be elected these elections The elections were delayed by constitutional reforms. The results of the first round will be announced on 29 October.
UPDATE September 14th
On September 12th Egyptian Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab submitted the resignation of his Cabinet to President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, despite earlier claims by Cabinet spokespersons that there would be no Cabinet Reshuffle. Al-Sisi has asked the Cabinet to continue in a “caretaker role” until a new administration is formed, while he has asked Oil Minister Sherif Ismail to form a new Cabinet. The reason for the resignation is still unclear, although concerns over wide spread corruption and the mismanagement of several Ministries have been prevalent. Oil minister Ismael is seen as one of the best performing Ministers.
On the 16th of March, Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohammed Badie, and thirteen other members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been sentenced to death during a trial that is publicly known as the ‘’Raba Operations Room’’. Mohammed Badie and the other members were found guilty of planning attacks against the state. They were accused of setting up an ‘’operations room’’ to prepare attacks against the state following the ousting of President Mohammed Morsi in 2013.
On Sunday 1 March, the Egyptian Supreme Court has ruled the Electoral Districts Law to be unconstitutional. Due to this decision the upcoming parliamentary elections will probably be postponed, as was announced by the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC). The first round of the elections was supposed to be held on 23-25 of March.
Between the 27th and 30th of November the European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity organized a training for representatives of social democratic parties from Jordan, Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and Tunisia. The training took place in Amman and focused on developing and communicating a message that is based on concrete policy issues in the region that are of importance for social democrats. The Future Leaders training course is supported by the UK Labour Party through the Westminster Foundation. Our partner in Jordan, Jordanian Commission for Democratic Culture (JCDC), provided great assistance in making the training possible, while Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS) and the Labour Party provided two trainers each to conduct the training.
Two electoral coalitions have been formed on August 10th by secular political parties of Egypt. They gather eleven different parties in total, divided between the Wafd-led “Wafd Alliance” and the National Democratic Party-led “Egyptian Front”. The move came following the withdrawal of Amr Moussa, chairman of the constitutional committee that drafted Egypt’s new constitution last January, from the Alliance of the Egyptian Nation – a bloc of liberal and leftists political forces – he failed to reunite. The recent split comes at the same time as the dissolution of the Muslim Brotherhood party on August 9th. Both events underline the lack of unity between leftist political forces, as well as limited political freedom in the country.
The Cairo Appeals Court for Urgent Matters overturned on 14 July the ruling that banned the leaders of former President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP) to participate in politics. They were then prevented from participating in the upcoming parliamentary elections which procedures will start by 18 July. The party had been dissolved by the Supreme Administrative Court after Hosni Mubarak, chairman of the party since 1981, was toppled in 2011.
On 3 June the Election Commission announced the results of the presidential elections: Abdel Fattah al-Sisi won 96.91% of the votes. On 26 and 27 May Egyptian voters could cast their ballots for the presidential elections. Because the turnout was low on the 26th, the government declared a national holiday on the 27th, which they hope leads to a higher turnout. In the end, 47% of the country’s 54 million people, voted. This percentage is lower than expected.