What future awaits Egypt’s political parties? Analyzing new legislation for the House of Representatives

This paper by Ahmed Abd Rabou analyzes how Egypt's legislative election law, issued on June 5th 2014 by then-President Adly Mansour, endangers the functioning of Egypt’s political parties and parliament. The paper outlines the most important characteristics of the new law, particularly those relating to the political positions and constitutional benefits put forward in the 2014 constitution for select social groups (women, Christians, young people, workers and farmers, those with disabilities, and Egyptians living abroad). The paper explains the most significant shortcomings of the new system, especially its bias towards the individual electoral system and the marginalisation of the list system. It analyzes the use of a completely closed list system which, while proportional, empties the list of any meaningful content and removes its most important characteristics. The most significant negative effects expected from this new system while hurt the functioning of political parties, the House of Representatives and Egyptian political culture.

Rabou closes the paper by outlining an alternative electoral system that would achieve a better balance between the list system and the individual system while maintaining the constitutional benefits put forward in the 2014 constitution for select social groups. This suggested alternative system is put forward in the hope that Egypt’s political parties will use this paper to offer an alternative and to exert pressure on decision makers to change the new electoral system and avoid the closing down of political space in Egypt.

The views represented in this paper are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arab Reform Initiative, its staff, or its board.