Egypt's 3-round elections for its People's Assembly, the lower house of parliament, begin Nov 28. The second round is Dec 14, and the third Jan 3. Separate elections follow for the upper house. Scores of parties, ranging from Islamist to secularist, plan to contest the election. The new assembly will appoint a committee to write a new constitution. An Egyptian court has said members of ousted President Hosni Mubarak's now-dissolved ruling National Democratic Party can run, reversing a previous ruling.
The military rulers risk strife like Algeria's in 1991 if they attempt to thwart the well-organized Islamists' efforts to win power. More than two dozen political parties have rejected the present electoral law, saying it could help return figures from the previous regime to parliament. They demand a pure proportional representation system and the activation of a law that would ban corrupt politicians from running for office. The parties issuing the threat include the political wing of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, which is contesting half the assembly seats as the Freedom and Justice party, and is seen as the best prepared group for the November election. The most popular and organized political force in Egypt, the Brotherhood was harassed but semi-tolerated during the 30-year rule of deposed president Hosni Mubarak. Mubarak's National Democratic Party held overwhelming power in the previous parliament. An Egyptian court in April ordered the dissolution of the party, but many of its key figures hold enough clout to worry the opposition. In Algeria, when the Islamic Salvation Front (FIS) was poised to win an outright majority of parliamentary seats in the second round of the 1991 general election, the parliament was dissolved on the apparent orders of the military, and the country entered a protracted period of bloody strife .Voting for the Shura council -- the upper house -- runs from 29 Jan to 11 Mar. Following the voting for both houses, a committee will draft a new constitution to replace Mubarak's constitution. The military caretaker government dissolved it on Feb 13. Presidential elections are expected in August.;
Date written/update: 2011-11-28