๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ๐Ÿ›๏ธ The Political Scene in Egypt after the Parliamentary Elections of 2021 โ€” Egypt Regains its Diversity and Strong Democratic Representation

The Egyptian Political Parties Spectrum from left to right in 2021
The Egyptian Political Parties Spectrum from left to right in 2021 (size of the ellipses designate the number of seats held in the parliament by the party)

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌโœŒ๏ธโœ๏ธ The year 2021 saw both of the upper house (the senate) and lower house (of representatives) parliamentary elections take effect which led to a very strong and diverse democratic representation of many political parties across the political spectrum, but mainly concentrated around the centre-right and centre-left parties. The political scene is summarised in the image above. As could be seen, we have unprecedented representation of political parties covering the wide and diverse political spectrum due to the wise electoral coalitions created prior to the parliamentary elections. Those coalitions were formed for the sake of electoral campaigns but doesn’t mean that the parties in this coalition will form a parliamentary block inside the house of representatives or the senate! For example, the 2 biggest parties forming the centre-left Republican People’s Party and the centre-right Future of Homeland were both running under the same electoral coalition (for the electoral-list-based voting which contributes to around half the seats in the parliament, the other half being voted for in competitive elections between individual candidates within each electoral sector / governorate), however, they both have diverging political ideologies which will see them dispute matters under the parliament from their own unique perspectives. It is expected for those parties to confront each other and shape constructive opposition to one another in the parliament. Other political parities which had considerable representation include the centre-parties of Homeland Defenders and Al-Wafd (one of the most respected and widely renowned party since the early 20th century).

An example of the debate and opposition between the political parties was witnessed during the discussions of the annual budget of Egypt which the parliament must approve. The opposition (mainly far-left parties) strongly rejected some aspects including the reduction of subsidies for the poorer population. On the other hand, the centre-parties were strong supporters of the budget as it improves the quality of life for the Egyptian citizens. As the centre-parties form the majority inside the parliament, the budget was passed after taking into consideration comments put forward by the far-left.

๐ŸŸ ๐Ÿ”ต๐Ÿ”ด๐ŸŸฃ๐ŸŸข The Current Egyptian Political Spectrum

The political environment in Egypt now covers a wide spectrum of ideologies, from leftist socialist orientations to rightist conservative / nationalist orientations. The majority of the seats inside the Egyptian parliament are occupied by the centre-right, centre, and centre-left parties, while some (fewer) seats are occupied by the left-wing and the right-wing. This includes the following most important parties:

  • Centre-left wing: Republican People’s party
  • Centre mixed: Wafd-party + Homeland Defenders party
  • Centre-right wing: Homeland future party
  • Right wing: Conservative party + (Free Egyptians Party) + Conference Party
  • Left wing: Egyptian social democratic party
  • Far right: Nour Party
  • Far left: Tagammu party

The slight majority of seats in the House of representatives and the Senate are held by the Homeland Future party, and the Egyptian Republican People’s party is now voicing the biggest opposition block. Both parties agree on many levels though about the strategic vision put forward by the government for Egypt 2030, yet with slight differences.

Our observation is that the majority of seats are occupied by political parties, so the parties are gaining moment. The observation is that 1 seat less then 50% majority in senate is for the centre-right Homeland Future party and slightly less than 75% of seats are occupied by political parties and only 25% of seats are for independent members. The parliament has a slight majority with 53% of seats for Future of Homeland party, while the biggest opponent of Republican People’s party (a newly established party after the 2011-2013 resolutions) gained about 10% of the seats but is forecasted to grow even more in future elections. The majority of seats, with about 80% of seats were won by political parties in 2020, a great growth from the 2015 parliament where the seats won by political parties were doubled from the 40% achieved back then. The slight majority percentage won by the Future of Homeland party is not enough to help it pass strategic legislations and approvals which require 2/3rd or 66.6% of the parliament members to approve them. This will mean they will have to collaborate with the opposition or other smaller parties and independent MPs to shape the majority of decisions taken by the new parliament.

On the electoral level, many electoral districts saw a heated competition between both parties of the Future of Homeland (centre-right) and the Republican People’s Party (RPP – centre-left), while many had both parties winning seats in the same electoral division! The greatest surprise was the loss of the Free Egyptians party (mixed opposition and pro-current-government party) in this election, not even winning a single seat in the election, when it was the biggest represented political party in the previous ending parliament of 2015-2020 where it won 65 of the total seats. It seems that this party is on the path of dissolving due to the internal power conflicts it had over the recent period dating back to 2016 and not being able to form strong coalitions with other parties or joining the existing strong electoral coalitions. It is probably giving way for other opposition parties like the Wafd party to retake its position. On the other hand, rising political parties like the Republican People’s party and the Homeland Defenders party can easily form a coalition with other parties and independent members inside the parliament to fill the vacant gap for exercising constructive opposition in front of the Future of Homeland party. Only 25% of individual seats were won from the first round. Those were able to achieve 50%+1 voters in their electoral district, while 75% of the individual seats were worn from the second and final round (indicating how competitive the environment was in the parliamentary elections). It was observed that Egyptians are adopting a more politically mature voting strategy where they are gradually moving away from voting to their circle-of-friends or relatives to a more politically motivated choice based on the electoral programs presented by the different parties in Egypt.

The centre-right pro-government party of Homeland future seems to be winning the biggest share of seats, but they are already partnering with many of the other parties in a political coalition which helped them win most of the seats via the closed-lists voting system. We hope all the best to all political parties, and hopefully the Homeland future party would make a wise pro-government support front within the Egyptian scene without turning into another single-party dominating block like the previous parties before the revolution of 2011. The party includes many prominent intellectual and public figures in Egypt making it a prestigious and strong one, yet it also includes many business people. The risk might be mixing of individual financial interests of those business people with politicians which might lead to undesired power clinching games. Yet, we don’t foresee this happening due to the prudent leadership of the nation by a non-politically aligned independent president and the now very politically literate population of Egypt after the revolutions of 2011-2013. It will be very difficult for any party to manipulate or mistreat the Egyptian people again. We foresee more partnerships and collaborations between political parties in Egypt in the near future until a desired balance of power is reached with an equilibrium between 2-4 stronghold coalitions in the future. It is just a matter of time. Currently, most of the parties froming different political spectrums are aligned in a big tent coalition called “for the sake of Egypt” which includes the following parties: Homeland future (centre-right), Republican People’s Party (centre-left), Al-Wafd (Centre mixed), Homeland Defenders (centre mixed), Tagammu (left), etc.

We expect to see a coalition between the right and centre-right parties of (Wafd-party + Homeland future + Conservative party) and another coalition for left and centre-left parties of (Homeland Defenders + Republican People’s party + Egyptian social democratic party, Conference Party, etc.). The far-left and far-right wings can also join forces and make other coalitions, but they are very unlikely to succeed in a country like Egypt where most citizens are centre leaning and don’t favour extreme ideologists.

We also see now constructive opposition in the parliament and senate from the centre-left parties (Republican and Homeland defenders) who were successful in becoming the 2nd and 3rd parties with most seats in those houses. Other mainline opposition parties include: Wafd party, conservative party, Social democratic party, Tagammu party, Conference party and Nour party. The only party which won individual seats without winning any list seats is the far-right party of Al Nour (a party based on traditional religious ideologies, now strongly rejected by the majority of Egyptians), winning only 7 seats indicating its weak presence in the political scene, yet still some presence in the North and West delta areas of Egypt and in Beni suef governorate. Some parties only won seats using the list without winning any individual seats in any electoral district, which were: Reform and Development party, social democratic party, Generation will party and the Justice party. All of them are negligible parties without any main stronghold on the ground but are supported by the electoral coalition to be represented on the list to allow more diversification in the parliament and representing all voices, even minority political ideologies. There were no seats won with individual seats electoral systems by the majority party of Future of the Nation in the governorates of: Damietta in the far north of Egypt (where independent MPs won) and Luxor in the far south (where the Republican people’s party and others won).

The governorate of Qena saw the most diverse seats won by different parties, where 4 parties and independent candidates won the seats, including the Future of Homeland party, the Republican people’s party, the Homeland Defenders and Freedom parties. Other governorates like the Red Sea and Suez saw a split of seats between the Future of the Nation and Republican people’s parties. A total of 18 governorates from the 27 (i.e., 2/3rds or 67% of the governorates) saw 2 or more political parties winning the individual seats. Yet, the Future of Homeland party dominated the scene at the capital, Cairo, and the big cities of Giza and Alexandria by winning a huge majority of the seats there.

The president used his constitutional right of selecting more members in the parliament with the 28 seats (5%) quota provided by the constitution, allowing the president to choose a few public figures and law scholars to enrich the parliament with any missing skills essential for better and smoother parliamentary operations. In total the parliament could have up to 596 parliamentary members.

๐Ÿ‘ฉ๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐ŸŽ“๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸŽ“ Representation of Women & Youth

At least 25% of the seats of the parliament were occupied by women for the first time in the history of Egypt, with 148 seats minimum quota as stipulated by the modern Egyptian constitution for the republic approved in 2014. A large portion (around 1/3rd) of the parliament is also represented by Egyptian youth under 45 years old. Most of the women MPs joining the new parliament were elected on the electoral lists, with only 5 women from the Northern Delta governorates of Behira and Sharqiya winning individual election seats. This is a great record representation of women in the Egyptian parliament. The Egyptian women and youth were the main drivers of the Egyptian revolutions of 2011-2013, and it is therefore natural to see them highly represented in the post-revolution parliamentary elections. Their voice is very crucial in the parliament, for example, to pass important bills for youth centres and representation in the different governorates of Egypt.

The current situation is also witnessing a younger and fresher parliament where the traditional faces of the past are fading away and giving space to the younger youth and women representing the voice of the streets of Egypt. This can be seen for instance in the large representation of the youth and women in the electoral lists, and also that the party winning the largest number of seats (the Futrue of Homeland) are an offshoot party from the revolution of 2013 established by the same young revolutionaries and politicians that sparked the 2013 revival of Egyptian politics. This is similarly the case with the main opposition centre-left party, the Republican People’s Party (RPP), which came out as the 2nd biggest winner after the Future of the Nation party with 50 seats in total.

Announcement ceremony in the opening session of the new president of the Egyptian Parliament 2021 by the first woman in Egyptian history leading as the chair of the parliament
Egyptian Senate 2021 Vice President Phoebie Fawzy Georges (from the Republican People’s Party), first Coptic woman to hold vice-president position in history

๐Ÿ…๐Ÿง‘โ€๐ŸŽ“๐Ÿƒโ€โ™€๏ธ The Egyptian Youth

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ Political Parties complementing the Egyptian Executive Power led by the President

The current Egyptian president, Abdelfattah Elsisi, depends mainly on the popular movement (“sha’abawy” approach in Arabic) post the 30th of June revolution. He doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the previous political leaders that depended on endorsement form a single political party which they used to lead. For example, the case of the ex-president of Egypt Hosni Mubarak who resigned after the popular revolution of 2011. He was the leader of the National Democratic Party (now defunct) which controlled the majority of the political scene in Egypt before 2011 and was accused of corruption. Another example is the short-lived rule by the M.B. brotherhood between 2011-2013 which was toppled by the Egyptian revolution of 2013. The ex-president back then was the head of the M.B. political party and most politicians and parliamentary members represented his party as well, similar to his previous counterpart Mubarak, leading to the same levels of corruption and discontent among the Egyptian people. The previous political regimes before the 2013 revolution were mainly based on a single political party dominating the political scene, which led to certain degrees of corruption and privileges for a selected few. Currently, the Egyptian president does not lead or participate in any political party and is an independent politician, depending mainly on the popular support by many political parties and the majority of the electoral voters (citizens of Egypt).

President Elsisi created a new political medium for participation by diverse political ideaologies. He is an independent leader not affiliated with any political party, yet, he has support from political parties like (Future of Homeland, Republican People’s Party, Homeland Defenders, Al-Wafd, and even the extreme right and left parties of Al-Nour and Al-Tagammu respectively!) Those different parties with different ideological backgrounds support the overall national projects and strategy by President Elsisi and have all flourished since the 2013 revolution (mainly for the centre, centre-left and centre- right parties). The current political scene in Egypt is now much similar to the healthy democratic scene of the pre- 23rd July revolution of 1952 (that ended the monarchy of the Kingdom of Egypt and declared the new Republic of Egypt), where many political parties are democratically competing for the parliamentary seats, and where they are all supporting and maintaining a strong democratic republic in Egypt (post-monarchy as there are no kings anymore, where a semi-presidential system takes place giving the president shared executive powers and decisions with the parliament).

๐Ÿ—ณ๏ธ The Egyptian Voters at the Ballot Box

Here are some photos of the Egyptians casting their votes during the 2020 parliamentary elections for the Senate and the House of Representatives.

๐Ÿงฎ Counting Votes

๐Ÿ‘‰ In Conclusion

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ’–โœŒ๏ธ The Egyptian political scene is now very healthy, protected, and enriched by the strong democratic participation and awareness by the majority of the Egyptian population. This led to the strong parliamentary elections for the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2020, where strong participation by different political parties have seen a rise and where the family-circle based voting in the governorates seen a decline giving room for political parties to take more seats from the independent (family-circle) candidates. The latest elections are a strong indicator that Egypt is going towards a very rich and dynamic political scene in the future, where we hope to see an even stronger and more organised participation by those parties! We expect a much better performing parliament and a great start for the newly inaugurated senate with the political scene dominated by the parties instead of non-aligned individuals. This will probably lead to a much better performance where heated discussions of new laws and national plans will surely take place, much better than any previous post- or pre- 2011 revolution parliament! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ‘

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