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The Plot Thickens

Posted on the 27 September 2011 by Warigia @WarigiaBowman
Egyptian politics gets more and more dramatic. On Sunday, the SCAF approved new amendments to the elections law. As a result, two thirds of constituencies will be allocated according to the list-based system, and one third according to the single-winner system. Further, the SCAF has reduced the number of seats in the People's Assembly from 508 to 498.
As a colleague explained to me yesterday, having one third single-winner system makes electoral districts bigger. So, if 1/2 of the candidates are under a single-winner system, then the 80 million people of Egypt will elect 249 members of the People's Assembly via a list, and 249 via single-member districts. If 1/3 of the candidates are under a single-winner system, then the 80 million people of Egypt will elect 166 people as individual candidates. That means that the electoral districts will be divided among 166 candidates. The electoral districts will be larger, which will favor established, wealthy, well-known candidates, (NDP and MB) and disadvantage candidates from new parties.
Further, this mysterious workers and farmers requirement was explained to me. To be named a "worker" or a "farmer" you have to get a certificate which acknowledges you as such from the Egyptian government. This is essentially a back door way of favoring local notables, people like the sherif, or omda, or people from wealthy families.
My colleague is Samer Soliman, of the Social Democratic Party of Egypt. 
Egyptian Social Democratic Party
According to Al Masry Al Youm today, "Under Mubarak, all candidates ran as individuals in an electoral system which critics argued ensured solid majorities for the NDP." (Ahmed Zaki Osman, "Military seeking to hamstring parliament through elections law amendments," Al Masry Al Youm, September 27, 2011) Thus, the list based system is a partial victory for new parties.
Around eight political parties established by members of the former regime have been granted legal status.

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