17 August 2022 08:42 AM

SIS: International media extensive coverage of House of Representatives elections

Sunday، 25 October 2020 - 12:11 AM

International media has provided considerable coverage of Egypt's parliamentary elections. The first phase of the elections began today (October 24) and will continue until tomorrow evening in 14 governorates, according to a report prepared by State Information service (SIS) about media coverage of the elections. Through the operations room of the foreign correspondents' press centre, SIS ensures providing all the facilities to the foreign correspondents participating in covering the first and second phases of the elections. A number of 570 foreign correspondents representing 166 media organizations have been accredited to the National Election Authority's database. Media coverage permits were issued to them to follow up the electoral process.

In SIS report on international media coverage of the first day of the election, two themes were highlighted, one relating to the gains of the elections in general, and the second focuses on the context in which voting takes place in the first phase .

First: Electoral gains

·        Elections are held for the first time in accordance with a new electoral law adopted following the constitutional amendments in 2019. Under the terms of the amendments, the house of representatives consist of  568 seats, 284 of them are elected by the absolute closed lists system at 50%, and 284 are elected by the same 'individual' system at the same percentage, with 142 seats allocated to women of 25% of the total number of seats. The President of the Republic appoints 28 representatives according to the 5% quota, including 25% for women.

·         A large number of political parties participated in these elections, reaching about 35 parties, including Mustaqbal Watan, Al-Tagamo', and Al-Tahalof Al-Sha'bi Al-Eshteraqi, It is remarkable that parties that do not participate in the elections have not issued any calls for a boycott.

·        Using social media platforms for election propaganda - along with the traditional means - where some candidates have posted videos of songs on the Internet in an effort to attract voters. Some have also used their YouTube channels as propaganda of their electoral platform and to communicate with voters in the constituencies.

·        There are expectations of a high turnout in parliamentary elections, which attract the interest of different segments of society, as the parliament is regarded as a symbol of power and influence.

Second: context in which voting process takes place in first stage

·        Rise of competition between candidates in the elections in the first stage. At the "individual" level, about 1879 candidates - out of a total of about 4000 candidates - are competing in 71 electoral constituencies in the individual system, distributed over 14 governorates: Giza, Fayoum, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, the Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, Matrouh.

·        The competition between the electoral National List and Nidaa Masr’s list increased, and this was evident during the electoral campaign period, as the two lists compete for 100 seats in the North, Central and South Upper Egypt sectors, and also in the West Delta Sector constituency for 42 seats.

 Female candidates appear strongly at this stage of the elections, as their intense presence was observed during the electoral campaigning period, and they went on election tours, especially in rural areas, which indicates that women have become a major partner in the political process in Egypt.

·        Increasing turnout of some groups in cities and villages, as the BBC correspondent in Cairo stated that there is a great turnout by young men and women in cities, while many voters flock to polling stations in villages adding that no security complaints were detected during the voting process.

·        The National Elections Authority, in coordination with the Ministry of Health, was keen to take all precautionary and preventive measures throughout the voting period, by distributing free masks to the voters, and appointing a coordinating employee for each electoral queue, in order to organize the process of entering the committees, and to ensure social distancing.

·        Preventing any advertisement in the vicinity of electoral commissions, in addition to setting up an operations room to follow up all complaints and inquiries.

·        Taking all arrangements and procedures related to cooperation between the armed forces, the Ministry of Interior, the National Elections Authority, and all concerned bodies in the country in organizing the work of securing the 2020 House of Representatives elections at the republic level, and providing a safe environment for citizens to cast their votes based on their national responsibility towards the Egyptian people..

·        State institutions are keen to urge citizens to participate by launching campaigns, as the National Council for Women implemented the campaign "Your Voice for Egypt, tomorrow" in all governorates, aimed at "educating women about the importance of effective political participation, and urging them to go out and vote in the elections of representatives, in addition to the Mufti of the Republic calling Egyptian citizens to vote, as well as highlighting the Coptic bishops' declaration that they are at equal distances from all candidates, and calling all citizens to demonstrate their patriotism and their close connection with the homeland.

·        The participation of the Arab League in following up the elections, as Assistant Secretary-General and Head of the Arab League Mission to follow up the elections of the Council of Representatives, Ambassador Ahmed Rasheed Khatabi, announced that the mission has drawn up a plan for action and deployment in a number of Egyptian governorates to monitor the elections’s progress and indicators, the electoral process and the conduct of the voting process in its various stages.

Field follow-up: minor complaints from media representatives

In SIS's special report on field coverage of the electoral process on the first day, representatives of the international media were present at the polling stations, carrying out their work without restrictions. The State Information Service operations room received only a limited number of complaints regarding filming, interviewing heads of electoral commissions, and confusion between local and foreign channels. Immediately, the Department of Public Relations and Information at the Ministry of Interior was contacted, which in turn put an end to all the problems presented by representatives of the international media, who reported this and continued their media coverage of the elections.

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