According to what was announced by the national dialogue, Egyptian politicians described the amendments made to the electoral law as “weak, failing to meet the aspirations of the national forces and lacking national consensus.” They further said that the amendments are not fundamental, but rather superficial and designed to marginalize the role of the opposition. The law is based on the principle of incomplete lists, where some parties are selected for the main lists, and the others are left to the side and added to the very end of the list.
Abdul Ghaffar Chukr, head of the Socialist Popular Alliance Party (SPA), told Al-Khaleej that he wanted the law to be different from the way it was. Since the law stipulates that two-thirds of the seats be elected by party lists and one-third of the seats by individual candidates, an advantageous situation for wealthy families and businessmen, it doesn't improve partisan life. He added, “We didn't want women to only be placed in the first half of the candidates’ list, as this would marginalize their role.”
Ahmed Bahaa El Din Shaban, head of the National Association for Change, said that the amendments are only designed to deal with constitutional challenges that result from a lack of equal opportunities. He added that despite the attempts of religious currents to maintain their seats, the amendments were not enough. The constituencies should have been reorganized, due to the lack of any equal representation, just as the law should have ensured that each candidate gets an equal share of publicity.
Amr Moussa, head of the Conference Party, criticized the draft law and noted that it does not guarantee full judicial supervision over the elections, nor does it prevent a repeat of violations from the referendum. He added that the law disregarded the National Salvation Front’s (NSF) proposals on the need to criminalize — not to ban — the use of places of worship in electoral campaigns and did not set a financial ceiling for campaigning. He explained that the law violates the front’s main demand to adopt the open-list proportional representation system — which also ensures a broad representation of Islamist forces — and said that the main flaw is the one-third and two-thirds system, a disadvantageous provision for all sides.
Waheed Abdel Meguid, a member of the NSF, said that when the law was passed before the amendments were added, it was criticized by the Muslim Brotherhood and many other parties under the former regime. He continued, “And here they are — now the Brotherhood is passing this law [...] The amendments are weak and are not satisfactory to all parties.”
Ahmed Khairy, spokesman for the Free Egyptians Party, said that all forces except for the Brotherhood — including the Salafists — are for electing 100% of the seats by the party list and oppose the one-third and two-thirds provision.
In the meantime, Egyptian party members warned of a social and class conflict in the next few months, which would trigger a revolution among the nation’s hungry. Speaking at a symposium organized by the Center for Socialist Studies in Cairo, former presidential candidate Khalid Ali said that this situation is a deadlock that could trigger a class conflict as a result of a revolt by disadvantaged groups. Ali warned the government against imposing new taxes accompanied with an increase in the price of commodities. He added that Egypt can do without the International Monetary Fund loan by reassessing public-land sale.
Sameh Naguib, a leading member of the Revolutionary Socialists Movement, said that the new constitution is one of the worst in the nation’s history, adding that many of its provisions restrict freedoms and do not serve the poor classes. Wael Gamal, a member of the socialist movement, said that there will be a social battle and that Egypt has a chance to progress, if it does well.
The SPA had warned of a revolution by the hungry in the coming days, reaffirmed its opposition to “the manipulation of exchange rates and rising prices” and stressed that the borrowing policy would drown the country in debt, which would in turn lead to interference in internal affairs. Moreover, the SPA — a part of the NSF — revealed that Amr Moussa did not consult with the front on his initiative before it was proposed. It thus expressed its refusal of the initiative, which suggests postponing elections and the formation of a one-year emergency government led by the president. The party described the initiative as “individualistic and at odds with our call for a demonstration on the second anniversary of the January 25 revolution.”