Elections countdown: 20 days

Parliamentary candidates are revving up to vie for voters’ hearts on Tuesday, the first official day of campaigning in the first phase of elections. Voting for the first round is slated to take place across 14 governorates on October 17-18.

Disqualified candidates fight to reenter the race

With campaigning just a day away, disqualified candidates are still trying to repeal their rejections. The State Council’s Supreme Administrative Court was scheduled to issue rulings in 170 different cases on Monday, but as of Monday night most of them were still unresolved.

At least one highly anticipated ruling was issued, however. The Administrative Court upheld the disqualification of billionaire steel tycoon and Mubarak-era parliamentarian Ahmed Ezz.

The State Litigation Authority also filed another 14 appeals on Monday against the Administrative Court’s disqualification of certain candidates and coalitions, the state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram reported.

When asked about these delays, an unnamed judicial source told the privately owned newspaper Al-Watan that “the Supreme Administrative Court is not bound by a specific timeframe for the adjudication of appeals, but it is accelerating its process.”

Parties prepare to campaign

In the meantime, candidates who got the green light from the High Elections Commission (HEC) have started announcing their campaign schedules.

One of the best-organized and best-funded electoral lists is For the Love of Egypt, which staunchly supports President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s government. The list has published the schedule for its 17-day campaign trail, due to kick off in Giza on Tuesday, followed by rallies and conferences in central and southern governorates. The rallies will continue until the last official day of campaigning on October 17.

The center-left Tagammu Party announced its support of For the Love of Egypt, which the party described as “the strongest civilian-led force confronting the Salafi Nour Party.”

According to Tagammu’s official webpage, the party will field 24 individual candidates in 16 governorates during both phases of the elections.

As for the Nour Party, its Vice President Sayed Mostafa told the privately owned newspaper Al-Watan  that the party would officially announce its platform on Tuesday. Mostafa added that the party plans to stage rallies and conferences in several governorates over the next two weeks. Al-Watan reported that some fear that violence could break out at the Nour Party’s rallies, as it was previously allied with the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The Nour Party won almost 25 percent of the seats during the 2012 parliamentary elections, second only to the Brotherhood. After the 2013 overthrow of former President Mohamed Morsi, however, Nour sided with the military-backed interim government and distanced itself from the Brotherhood.

Omar Marwan, the HEC spokesperson, told media outlets on Monday that the use of religious slogans or symbols would not be tolerated, nor would electoral officials tolerate any campaign slogans that are discriminatory, promote sectarian strife or threaten national security.

As for billionaire Naguib Sawiris’ Free Egyptians Party, media outlets reported that campaigns for its 236 candidates will be financed to the tune of nearly LE25 million.

Working with a much smaller budget, and fielding far fewer candidates, the Socialist Popular Alliance Party announced that it would organize campaign rallies and conferences for its dozens of candidates over the next two weeks.

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