Egypt Puts Off Elections
Egypt's ruling military council has put off national elections, as did the transitional government in Tunisia earlier this summer. In the case of Cairo, however, elections originally set for September are now being moved back. The government has also postponed the swearing-in of its new cabinet after protesters again complained that the latest changes did not go far enough.
In addition, the transitional government also rejected suggestions for international observers to oversee the polls, preferring instead to restrict the privilege to independent Egypt-based groups only.
According to a statement by Maj.-Gen. Mamdouh Shaheen, the “electoral process” is to begin in September – but the final vote will be carried out in three stages, ending at least a month later. Some politicans have maintained, however, that the final vote could take place as late as November.
The plan comes as a compromise between the demands of Islamist and liberal pro-democracy groups, all of which are fielding candidates.
Half of the parliamentary seats will be filled through a voting system in which individual candidates will run in district races. The other half of the seats will be filled through voter choice of a political party, which then will select the representatives on its list based on how many mandates are won by each party – similar to the system used in Israel.
The minimum age for new lawmakers will be lowered from age 30 to 25, in deference to those youths who led the recent revolution that toppled the regime of former President Hosni Mubarak, who is now in a coma.
One requirement imposed by the military government is that which mandates that half of the parliamentary seats must go to blue-collar workers and/or farmers. The current defense minister will act as interim president and will name 10 of the 514 members of the lower house of parliament.