Sunday, March 13, 2011

PoliticsEgypt: Referendum: What's ahead for Egypt on March 19?

Election Guide (Mar12,2k11)

refWrite is prepping readers for the vitally important parliamentary elections in Egypt, scheduled for Mar19,2k11.  Please read this info. - Politicarp

Flag of Egypt

Source for election date

At stake in this Referendum:

  • A referendum to change 
  • the current constitution of Egypt.

Description of government structure:

  • Chief of State: President Mohamed Hussein TANTAWI 
  • Head of Government: Prime Minister Essam SHARAF 
  • Assembly: Egypt has a bicameral Parliament consisting of the Advisory Council (Majilis Al-Shura) with 264 seats and the People's Assembly (Majlis Al-Sha'b) with 518 seats**.

Description of electoral system:

  • The President is elected by absolute majority vote through a two-round system to serve a 6-year term.*
  • The Prime Minister is appointed by the president with the approval of the parliament.
  • In the Advisory Council (Majilis Al-Shura), 176 members are elected by absolute majority vote through a two-round system to serve 6-year terms and 88 members are appointed by the president to serve 6-year terms. In the People's Assembly (Majlis Al-Sha'b), 444 members are elected by absolute majority vote through a two-round system to serve 5-year terms, 10 members are appointed by the president to serve 5-year terms and 64 members are reserved for women to serve 5-year terms.**
* A national referendum in May 2005 approved a constitutional amendment that changed the presidential election to a multicandidate popular vote. Previously, the president was nominated by the People's Assembly and the nomination was validated by a national, popular referendum. Candidates may run with a party or as independents. Each registered political party is allowed to field a candidate if they have been licensed for at least five years and hold at least five percent of the seats in the lower and upper houses of parliament. In order to qualify as an independent, potential candidates must collect 250 signatures from elected officials. These officials can be from both the national and municipal level.
** Every district contains two seats and electors are given two votes. At least one seat in each district is reserved for a worker or farmer. If no candidate receives an absolute majority in the first round, a second round is held one week later. This round will contain the top 4 vote-getters, provided 2 are workers and/or farmers. If the two top candidates in the first round are not workers or farmers, the top candidate is elected, while a new simple majority poll is held a week later among the top workers and farmers. In the women's tier, every governorate is one electoral district and elects two women, at least half of whom must be workers or farmers, except for the governorates of Cairo, El‐Daqahilia, and Sohag which are divided into two electoral districts, each of which elects two women members

Main provisions in the Referendum:

  • Changes to the Egyptian Constitution.* The proposed changes would shorten the presidential term from four to six years, while creating a two-term limit. It would also make it eaiser run for president by lowering the eligabity to either collecting 30,000 signatures from at least 15 provinces, or from 30 members of a chamber of the legislature, or nomination by a party holding at least a seat in the legislature. It would also make it more difficult for the government to declare and renew a state of emergency.
* Complete text of the proposed changes in English and Arabic can be found in the "of interest" section in the top right of this page.

Population, but no figures for number of registered voters:

  • Population: 80,471,869 (July 2010 est.)
Last Updated on 03/04/2011

-- Election Guide materials posted by Politicarp

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