Steel tycoon Ahmed Ezz may have managed to find a workaround to a February ruling barring him from running for parliament. On Thursday he successfully submitted his application to contest this fall’s elections to the High Elections Commission’s (HEC) Monufiya branch.
If approved, Ezz would run in the Sadat constituency with a ship as his electoral symbol.
The elections commission disqualified Ezz from running for parliament last February, but the elections were halted a month later when the Supreme Constitutional Court found the electoral constituency divisions law unconstitutional. On Tuesday, Ezz’s appeal against his disqualification was turned down by the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC). The SAC said Ezz had still failed to provide documents including financial disclosures for his second wife, Shahinaz al-Naggar, according to the privately owned newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Mohamed Hamouda, Ezz’s lawyer, said that the SAC ruling only pertains to the postponed March 2015 elections, and does not affect his current application, the privately owned newspaper Al-Shorouk reported. Ezz managed to submit his application by opening a new bank account with the post office.
The For the Love of Egypt list vying for parliamentary seats has come to be known as “the state list” after the privately owned newspaper Youm7 published a list of names predominantly including former members of fallen President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party and public figures supporting current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government.
The president has repeatedly emphasized the need to form a unified electoral list combining all political parties. He first called for such a bloc in a meeting with heads of political parties in January, when he said that if a unified list was formed, he would openly endorse it.
Sisi supporter and TV anchor Mostafa Bakry — a former parliamentarian for the Helwan constituency — is leading the list in Cairo, alongside Tarek al-Khouly, spokesperson for the April 6 Youth Movement. Bakry was a major supporter of the June 30 alliance that led to former President Mohamed Morsi’s fall in 2013, and was part of Sisi’s presidential campaign.
Mahmoud Badr, a co-founder of the Tamarod (Rebel) movement that sparked the mass protests against Morsi, is also on the list. Badr worked on Sisi’s presidential bid, as well.
Mubarak-era MP Alaa Abdel Moniem is part of the list in Cairo, as well as security analyst and staunch Sisi supporter Sameh Saif al-Yazal.
A group of former ministers tops the list, including former Foreign Affairs Minister Mohamed al-Orabi, former head of the Media Production City and Information Minister Osama Heikal and former Sports Minister Taher Abu Zeid. The list’s Coptic candidate is Margrit Azer, assistant coordinator of the National Council for Women, while another frontrunner is Heba Hagras, general coordinator of the National Council for People with Disabilities. Azhar University professor Amna Mansour is contesting the elections in Assuit.
High-profile business executives on the list include former NDP leader Akmal Kortam, Semouha Sports Club head Mohamed Farag Amer in Alexandria, and Sahar Talaat Mostafa, sister of jailed Mubarak-era business mogul Hesham Talaat Mostafa. Gebaly al-Maraghy, head of the state-run General Union of Egyptian Labor Syndicates and another leading NDP figure, is also running in the bloc.
Former NDP parliamentarians with deep pockets and strong tribal networks dominate the list in Upper Egypt. The front-runner in Qena is Abdel Naby Mohamed, known as Hesham al-Sheainy, a former police officer said to have close ties to Ahmed Ezz.
On Thursday, the privately owned daily Al-Watan ran a story listing five major lawsuits to postpone the elections. The story led with a lawsuit filed on Monday by former parliamentarian Gamal Zahran against the constituency divisions law, which Zahran claimed threatens equal opportunities and violates constitutional Articles 105 and 106.
The Administrative Court referred the case to the State Commissioners Authority, a consultative judicial body that issues its recommendations to the administrative judiciary in contentious court cases.
There are also three separate legal cases attempting to dissolve 12 religious parties, including the Salafi Nour Party. The No to Religious Parties grassroots campaign is leading this charge, and has called for the elections to be postponed until the Administrative Court issues a verdict on the matter. The group’s founders earlier told Mada Masr that they object to what they described as the sectarian and discriminatory rhetoric promulgated by these parties, and generally an ideology that mixes religion with politics.
In response, Nour Party leader Shabaan Abdel Aleem told Mada Masr that his party was the victim of a smear campaign, claiming that such attacks on religious parties were illegal.
A fifth lawsuit has called for the disqualification of any candidate that makes use of the famous black-and-yellow icon signifying the bloody dispersal of the Muslim Brotherhood sit-in at Rabea al-Adaweya in 2013. That lawsuit claimed that the Brotherhood’s infiltration of the incoming parliament represents a real threat to national security.