Elections Snapshot: Ex-NDP and Al-Nour face off in Alexandria

Thursday 15-10-2015 12:20 PM
Elections Snapshot: Ex-NDP and Al-Nour face off in Alexandria

As ex-members of the now defunct National Democratic Party (NDP) make their way back into Egypt's decision-making circles through the legislature, in Alexandria they face fierce adversaries in the form of the Salafi Al-Nour Party.

Candidates have rolled up their sleeves and used every trick in the book as they contested the coastal city's 40 seats in 10 constituencies during the first phase of elections for the House of Representatives to be held from Oct. 17-19 inside Egypt and for Egyptians living abroad.

Election promises mainly targeted the city's unemployed youth, with some candidates promising much-coveted  jobs at petroleum companies, while others offered positions in companies at Borg El Arab industrial zone. 

Of the 36 women candidates running in the elections race, some gave more modest gifts such as school supplies and made school fee payments for the underprivileged.

The second largest city in Egypt, Alexandria is home to over 5 million, of which 3,640,000 are eligible to vote.

Of the 389 candidates running for single-member constituency seats, 111 are affiliated to a variety of political parties and 278 claim that they are independent. Four party lists are also competing over 15 seats allocated to the list system.

Adept at dominating political life under ousted President Mubarak, former NDP candidates have poured hundreds of thousands of pounds on "gifts",  campaign material and rallies, while their Nour counterparts focused their activities in the city's informal areas where they communicated directly with voters.

The election contest was not free from mud-slinging volleys with candidates "exposing" their rivals' former political affiliations, which in one case led to a court order disqualifying an ex-NDP member from the race for his "bad reputation".

The predominance of "For the Love of Egypt" coalition list was palpable with huge banners across the city, most notably near the Alexandria entrance of the Cairo-Alex Desert Road.

As observed in other provinces, candidates committed numerous campaign violations. Some Salafi candidates for instance found themselves in a confrontation with the Ministry of Religious Endowments for sticking fliers on the walls of mosques belonging to the ministry, which filed an official complaint.

It is illegal for candidates to use the government premises for campaigning. Violating this law leads to the disqualification of the candidate.

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