100 days before the presidential elections officially start
An analysis of the legislative, political, economic and security contexts
Presidential Election Observatory, Maat Foundation
Almost a hundred days separate Egyptians from the most important and prominent political event, which is the presidential elections, which will be officially launched on February 8, 2018 in accordance with the governing constitutional framework, and although the features and nature of the electoral competition have not yet taken shape on the ground, and none of the parties that people look to have announced As potential candidates - including the current president, Mr. Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi - he is determined to enter the electoral competition, but there are institutional developments and popular movements that reveal a side of the expected nature of this competition.
In this context, the Presidential Election Observatory of the Maat Foundation issues "Egypt 2018" His second report on the follow-up of procedures and the environment surrounding the electoral process Which deals with the institutional legal arrangements and the political and popular positions a hundred days before the official start of the electoral process, as the report reviews the current constitutional and legal reality, which has not undergone any amendment except by the approval of the National Election Authority Law and the issuance of the President's decision to form it from members of judicial bodies in accordance with what is stipulated In the constitution and the law, the report also deals with the emergency law, which has been extended for a third period that ends about a month before the start of the presidential elections, in the context of the legal measures taken by the Egyptian authorities to combat terrorism, whose organizations are active on the Egyptian scene after the 30th revolution. June 2013, and during the past four years, a wide range of crimes have been committed that have affected the economic, political and social climate in Egypt, killing hundreds of Egyptians, including policemen, the army, and civilians.
The report raises the issue of the absence of an official announcement from potential heavyweight candidates in the street despite the existence of popular campaigns that have a party back and political momentum to demand the current president to run, other campaigns that adopt a opposing viewpoint, and hints from close associates of former presidential candidates or senior officials in the successive regimes The country after January 25, 2011 indicates their intention to run, but without explicit announcement by any of them, in exchange for the initiative of unpopular names to announce their candidacy for the presidential post.
Initial follow-up to the current situation 100 days before the presidential elections indicates that the current constitutional and legal environment provides a competitive framework and does not create obstacles to the establishment of free and fair elections under the supervision and management of an independent body and members of judicial bodies in full. Even with the application of the emergency law, it has not been documented - until Now - any cases to use it to disrupt the procedures of a potential candidate or a campaign for a particular candidate, but nevertheless, the atmosphere of the electoral competition from its political perspective seems not yet prominent and is not consistent with the imminent launch of the process officially, so previous electoral experiences in Egypt or even internationally recognized say that One hundred days before the elections, the potential candidates will have settled their positions, and the political and popular forces have announced their positions, but this has not happened in Egypt so far.
Also, from another angle, despite the formation of the National Elections Commission, but it did not complete its institutional building until the issuance of this report, as its executive body was not formed, did not settle on a permanent headquarters for it, and it did not announce the administrative, organizational and financial regulations governing its work, which constitutes a great challenge. With the electoral process approaching.
During the past period, the Observatory has followed up on several initiatives and popular campaigns under the title of supporting President Sisi in exchange for the announcement of one opposition campaign led by the political activist Mamdouh Hamza, and despite the divergence of opinions and the political and legal evaluation of these campaigns, we have noticed that some executives support some of President Sisi's campaigns Meanwhile, we observed that some officials also refused to respond to the representatives and coordinators of these campaigns.
At the party level, the parties are divided between the applicable support for the current president and opposition to the existing policies without presenting an alternative candidate who adopts policies compatible with the ideology and vision of these parties, and unlike the Reform and Development Party that supports the potential candidate Muhammad Anwar Sadat, the rest of the opposition parties did not benefit from the appropriate legal environment. To operate and increase its numbers to reach 104 parties in an alliance with one or more competing candidates.
The current economic conditions are expected to play a role in the electoral process through their impact on the candidates' programs or on the chances of the most prominent potential candidate, the current president, Mr. Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who stood up to a financial reform program that was supported and appreciated by international financial institutions, but which led to high inflation rates and a decrease in purchasing power. Government spending has put pressure on public services and reduced the subsidies that the state has allocated to some basic goods and services for decades.
In addition, the security situation may also play a role in the upcoming elections, especially in light of the growing terrorist threat and the security confrontation of terrorist and takfiri organizations that operate in the North Sinai border region, and have recently been active in the Western Sahara, driven by the tension in Libya.
The current legislative reality for the Egyptian presidential elections
First, the laws governing the presidential elections
Presidential elections are conducted according to several laws that are consistent with the articles of the 2014 constitution, chief among them is the National Elections Authority Law 198 of 2017, which is the body primarily responsible for overseeing and following up all stages of the electoral process, taking into account the provisions of the Law on Organizing Presidential Elections promulgated No. 22 of 2014, which is the law that It has not yet been amended to coincide with the establishment of the National Election Commission that replaced the Presidential Elections Commission, as well as the Law on the Exercise of Political Rights No. 45 of 2014, as amended by Law No. 92 of 2015, and the following is a review of the aspects regulated by these laws and the governing articles in the Egyptian constitution:
- Conditions for running for the office of President of the Republic
Article 140 of the constitution limits the presidency period to four years, and affirms that it is not permissible to re-elect the president whose term has expired more than once, while Articles 141, 142 stipulate the conditions for running for the presidency, the most prominent of which is that the candidate is an Egyptian and has Egyptian parents, and that he has not been pregnant. Or any of his parents or spouse, nationality of another country, and the candidate's age should not be less than forty years. Among the most prominent conditions for candidacy is that the candidate must be recommended by at least twenty members of the House of Representatives, or that at least twenty-five thousand citizens who have the right to vote in at least fifteen governorates support him. With a minimum of 1,000 supporters from each of them. And in accordance with the first and second articles of the Presidential Elections Law No. 22 of 2014, which are related to candidacy conditions.
Chapter Three of the Presidential Elections Organization Law No. 22 of 2014 deals with “Articles 10-17 procedures for running for the President of the Republic, including listing the papers required to be submitted to the Supreme Elections Committee, the most important of which is an acknowledgment that he has not been convicted of a felony or dishonorable crime. Or the trust, even if he was rehabilitated, which was mentioned in the first article of the same law, which is a controversial condition, given the existence of the phrase “even if he has been rehabilitated”, that is, even if it becomes clear that the accused is innocent and rehabilitated, he is not entitled Apply to run. It is unreasonable to deprive a person from running while his innocence has been revealed, which may contribute to depriving a large number of people from their right to run for office because of this article.
In the same context, the first article of the Law on the Exercise of Political Rights No. 45 of 2014 specifies who is entitled to exercise political rights, and who is exempt from them, and the second article of the law stipulates that 11 categories are deprived from exercising political rights temporarily or until the cause of deprivation ceases to exist. , Including the persons against whom final judgments have been issued in any case that represents a felony, and the period of deprivation for persons against whom final court rulings have been issued, defined by the law as five years, and the deprivation does not apply if the person is rehabilitated, or the execution of the punishment is suspended by a court ruling. This paragraph has been amended in Law No. 92 of 2015 amending some provisions of the Law Regulating the Exercise of Political Rights promulgated by Law No. 45 of 2014, and Parliament Law promulgated by Resolution No. 46 of 2014 قرار, to become 6 years instead of 5 years.
- The National Election Commission
Articles 208, 209, 2010 of the constitution define the role and competencies of the National Elections Commission, starting from its formation to the terms of reference for its work and the selection of its members. It also indicated that appeals to the Commission’s decisions are submitted to the Supreme Administrative Court, which has jurisdiction over appeals related to referendums and presidential and parliamentary elections. On October 11, 2017, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi issued a decree to form the commission, No. 503 of 2017, headed by Counselor Lashin Ibrahim, and the rest of the members of the commission were formed. Perhaps the most prominent of what was raised about the law of the National Elections Authority is that Article 12 allowed for appeals against the Commission’s decisions within 48 hours of announcing the decision, as the Supreme Administrative Court has jurisdiction to rule on them, and despite the constitutionality of this article, it opens the way for appeals against all the Commission’s decisions. . It should be noted that the decisions of the Supreme Elections Commission in the past were not subject to appeal, while the decisions of the National Commission are subject to appeal, bearing in mind that the immunization of the decisions of the Main Election Commission in the past was the subject of widespread political and human rights criticism.
The authority's mandate includes issuing decisions regulating the work of the commission itself, implementing the referendum and elections process in accordance with internationally recognized laws, principles and rules, preparing a voter database based on national number data, updating, modifying, cleaning and reviewing it on a continuous basis periodically, inviting voters to referendums and elections, setting their dates and setting the timetable. For each of them, taking into account the cases stipulated in the constitution, opening the door for candidacy, specifying the dates for the procedures, documents and papers required to be presented upon candidacy, receiving and examining candidacy applications, verifying that they fulfill the required conditions and deciding on them, announcing the names of the candidates, as well as announcing the results of the referendum or election. That is, the National Authority is primarily responsible for managing and following up all stages of the electoral process.
It should be noted that, with the approval of the National Elections Authority Law, the term “National Elections Commission” has been replaced by “the Higher Elections Commission, the Presidential Elections Commission,” and Chapter Two in both the Law on Organizing the Presidential Elections and the Law on the Exercise of Political Rights, which is the Chapter Who talks about the Supreme Elections Commission and the Presidential Election Commission ”.
- Electoral campaign controls and the advertising ceiling
Law No. 22 of 2014 regulating the presidential elections defined its fourth chapter with the title “Controls for electoral advertising,” the most prominent of which came to prohibit the use of buildings, facilities, and means of transport owned by the state or public business and public sector companies in any form in electoral advertising, as well as the prohibition of using Government departments, places of worship, schools, universities and other educational institutions. The same chapter included that the state-owned media achieve equality between all candidates in their use of electoral campaigning.
However, the most prominent of what was mentioned in this chapter is the maximum spending on electoral advertising set by Article 22 of the law 20 million pounds for each candidate, and for the run-off round 5 million pounds, which is surprising, and creates a state of inequality among the candidates, who can spend An amount of up to 20 million pounds for advertising, of course, will not be equal to another candidate who does not own a few thousand pounds, and thus this propaganda will make all a particular candidate more favorable. In the same context, and despite the law specifying that the amount of donation from any person does not exceed 2% only of the maximum spending, but this condition can be circumvented through the multiplicity of donation agencies "even on paper", which will increase the presence of political money and its impact on The electoral process.
In the same context, Chapter Four of the Law on Political Rights clarified “Controls of Propaganda in the Elections and Referendums”. Articles 23-31 clarify the candidate’s right to campaign and display his electoral program, as well as determine the duration of publicity, propaganda silence, the maximum spending on advertising, and receiving donations. While Article 29 specifies the right to use state-owned media in a way that achieves the principle of equal opportunities and non-discrimination between candidates. Article 30 affirmed the prohibition of violating the electoral silence, while Article 31 provides for a list of prohibitions for propaganda, the most important of which are the use of religious slogans, the exploitation of places of worship, universities, schools and public facilities, or the use of buildings, facilities and means of transport owned by the state or by companies of the business sector.
- Controls on media coverage and the role of civil society organizations
With regard to media coverage, Article 32 of the Law Regulating the Exercise of Political Rights guarantees a set of controls for media coverage in accordance with the principle of objectivity, and Article 33 obliges the media to set a set of controls in the event of publishing opinion polls, and obligates them to disclose the party that carried out the poll and funded it, while it specified Article 37: Penalty for violating the controls of media coverage, as it approved the formation of a committee to follow up what is published or broadcast in the media, and if any violation is proven, the media outlet is obliged to publish an apology and pledge not to commit any violation, and this committee also specifies a period of time during which the media body is not allowed to cover any Franchise. On the other hand, Article 34 prohibits those who hold political and administrative positions in the country from participating in the electoral campaign, while Article 35 prohibits receiving donations from specific bodies such as a legal person, a foreign state or entity, or an international organization.
The law also emphasized the role of civil society organizations in following up the elections, as Article 38 indicated that authorized civil society organizations, within fifteen days of the final result of the referendum or election, submit to the General Secretariat a documented report on their observations and the recommendations it proposes.
In continuation of the role of civil society organizations during the voting and counting process, the Presidential Election Organization Act, in Article 28, emphasized that representatives of the media and authorized civil society organizations be allowed to attend the counting process and announce its results in a way that does not hinder the work of the committee.
- Polling and counting procedures
Chapter five of the Presidential Elections Law deals with Articles “from 27-40 Voting and Counting Procedures, similar to the Law on Exercising Political Rights, especially with regard to the voting period specified by laws by one day or more, which caused controversy. Article 43 of the Law revealed Exercising political rights, by limiting the election period to one day or more, starting from nine in the morning until nine in the evening, and if there are voters within the election assembly until nine in the evening, a list of their names is drawn up and the election process continues until their opinions are expressed. This matter contains a degree of lack of transparency. That the elections are held on one day, preferably an official holiday, so that all citizens can participate throughout the day without the need to congregate in the evening with the date of leaving work and others, and the word one or more days is too loose, so no day or two have been specified Or three, which would allow the voting period to be extended for more than a day without any restrictions.
Articles 44-47 of the Law on the Exercise of Political Rights specify the process for the voter to cast his vote, and how the vote is invalid, and revealed to me a point of great importance, which is the only case that allows the head of the subcommittee to help the voter to vote, if the voter has special needs In a way that prevents him from proving his opinion on the card himself, he may express his opinion in private to the head of the sub-committee who affixes it himself on the card. That is, there is nothing that allows the head of the subcommittee or whoever is within the electoral commission to assist those who do not read or write in casting the vote. Aid is limited to people with special needs who cannot, with a reason, vote themselves.
Articles 48-51 of the same law specify the stages of the counting process in the subcommittee, then collecting votes in the general committee, as well as the means for Egyptians abroad to vote, which is set one day before the elections in Egypt, followed by the announcement of the results by the Supreme Elections Commission without Others, within five days from the date on which the Supreme Committee receives all the papers of the General Committees. Two days may be added to this period if there are grievances. The final result is published in the Official Gazette and in two widely circulated daily newspapers. After announcing the results, the law regulated the mechanism for disqualifying the candidate and how to grievance with the polling and counting procedures through Articles 52-55.
- Judicial seizure of heads of electoral commissions
Articles “58-60” in Chapter 7 of the Presidential Elections Law clarified several final provisions, the most prominent of which is to give each of the election committee chiefs the status of judicial seizure, with regard to establishing crimes that occur in the election process.
While the Law on Exercising Political Rights granted, through Article 71 thereof, the chairperson and members of the Supreme Committee, the head and members of the General Secretariat, the head of the provincial elections committee and its members from the judicial authorities and bodies, the head and members of the General Committee, the head of the subcommittee, the status of judicial control.
- Database of voters and electoral domicile
While the third chapter of the Law on the Exercise of Political Rights, in Articles 13-22, deals with all matters related to the voter database, the amendment that occurs to it, and the statement of the electoral domicile of all citizens. It also explained how to file an appeal if a citizen entitled to vote cannot find his name in a database. Voters.
Both the Law Regulating the Exercise of Political Rights and the Presidential Elections Law agreed to determine the electoral domicile for the judges supervising the referendum and all employees of the electoral college, for this complex to be their electoral home.
The Law on the Exercise of Political Life through Chapter Seven (Articles 65-73) guaranteed clarification of election crimes and the penalties contained in accordance with every violation of the election rules, taking into account the provisions of Chapter Six of the Presidential Elections Law Articles “from 41-57 which deals with the penalties prescribed for all Irregularities and violations that may occur during the election period. While several articles have raised a lot of controversy, including the definition of Article 57 of a fine of 500 pounds for those who did not vote despite being in the base of the voters' statement and failed without an excuse, without specifying the nature of this excuse, and therefore obligating the voter to vote is not necessarily obligatory, and this article also raises the question of whether to vote A right or a duty, despite Article 87 of the constitution indicating that participation is a national duty, it becomes a legal obligation for non-punishment. In general, the ancient democratic countries deal with voting as an individual right. As for developing and newly independent countries, many of them consider it a binding duty, such as Egypt, although they are relentless in inflicting punishment on those who do not go to vote.
Second, the emergency law and its impact on the presidential elections
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi issued a republican decision to declare a state of emergency throughout the country for a period of 3 new months, starting from the thirteenth of October 2017, which is the third time this year, in order to maintain security and fight terrorism. However, this decision had a great political and social impact in conjunction with the start of preparations for the presidential elections scheduled to take place in 2018. Despite the objectives of this controversial decision, its activation prior to the start of the presidential elections, may be used to question the integrity and impartiality of the elections, although it did not Cases have been documented so far that the law has affected the electoral competition, but there are concerns that if the state of emergency continues, the candidates' campaigns and propaganda campaigns may be harmed, and the door may open to arbitrariness by the executive authority and law enforcement agencies towards certain candidates.
Institutional Environment for Presidential Elections - Formation of the National Election Commission
After a long wait and anticipation about its formation, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi issued a decree No. 503 of 2017, on the eleventh of October, to form the National Election Commission headed by Counselor Lashin Ibrahim, and the rest of the members of the Commission were formed. The powers of the authority reach 24 specializations, including issuing decisions regulating the work of the commission itself, implementing the referendum and elections process in accordance with the provisions of internationally recognized laws, principles and rules, preparing a voter database based on the national number data, updating, amending, cleaning and reviewing it on an ongoing basis periodically, and inviting voters to referendums, elections and determining Their deadlines and scheduling are set for each of them, taking into account the cases stipulated in the constitution, opening the door for candidacy, setting the dates for the procedures, documents and papers required to be submitted upon candidacy, receiving applications for candidacy, examining them, verifying that they fulfill the required conditions, deciding on them, announcing the names of the candidates, as well as announcing the results of the referendum or election .
Despite the importance of the National Elections Commission, and its competence to fully and comprehensively manage the electoral process, the government is still looking at a permanent headquarters for the commission, since the first meeting that was held at a temporary headquarters to introduce the members of the commission and agree on the mechanism of work, the date of the second meeting has not been set. Due to the absence of a permanent headquarters for the authority, which will stand as an obstacle to the authority's practice of its work or holding its meetings, according to what was stated by the advisor, Lashin Ibrahim, head of the authority.
As a result of the instability in the headquarters of the commission, the executive body of the commission has not been formed, which will be responsible for implementing any decision of the commission, and therefore the commission cannot issue any decisions until after this body is formed. It is assumed that the agency will be formed from an executive director and three deputies to him, with whom a decision is issued by the President of the Republic from among more than one candidate nominated by the Board of Directors of the Authority, for a period of 4 years, which may be renewed once.
The law did not specify the number of members of the commission’s executive branch. Rather, it stipulated that, unlike the executive director and the three deputies, it includes a sufficient number of members to be chosen from among the members of the judicial authorities and bodies and civil workers in the country and those with experience in accordance with the rules laid down by the commission. In addition, the law referred to the Council The authority fully has the terms of reference related to approving the organizational and financial regulations for the work of the authority, which has not yet been decided upon.
Therefore, matters relating to the formation of the commission must be discussed, finding a permanent headquarters for it, and approving its governing internal governing body as soon as possible, so that the commission begins its work in line with the constitution, and to achieve the utmost levels of transparency and integrity in the upcoming presidential elections.
Popular and political movement
The past days have witnessed the initiative of parties, public figures, businessmen and politicians launching campaigns to support President El-Sisi and demanding him to run in the next elections, and the campaigns have very similar names, which is natural given their support for the same person, and so far 9 campaigns have officially emerged to support President Sisi, which are “with Sisi” For Harvest, “Supporters,” “Support and Nominate Sisi,” to adopt it, “A Citizen Supporting a President,” “With You for Egypt,” “With You for Egypt,” “Continue, Sisi,” “Sisi, Stability and Development.”
Among those campaigns emerged the campaign “To Adopt It,” which quickly spread in all governorates, due to its obtaining the support of the majority of parliamentarians, and the National Future Party announced that all its headquarters at the republic level had been opened to the youth of the campaign, while the campaign was joined by artists, writers, politicians and trade unionists. It spread in a short time.
Campaigns to support President Sisi have provoked mixed reactions in the Egyptian street, as there are those who see it as a right that does not conflict with the law and legitimate political movements to push the president to run for office and a legitimate expression of support, while opponents of President Sisi have raised questions about the purpose of all these campaigns, and the race to show loyalty And support for President Sisi despite his popularity. There is no need to show the size of Sisi’s support through printed forms that cost millions of pounds, and whose costs are borne by businessmen and parliamentarians unnecessarily, as the elections will only be decided through the ballot boxes and through a secret voting process that guarantees transparency and integrity, and not through forms printed on the national number. It will not be legally recognized.
It seems that these campaigns, even if their intentions are true, may lead to adverse results. These campaigns have caused an increase in the belief among the general public that President Sisi will decide the upcoming elections and the first round, which may discourage potential competitors and reduce the rates of participation in the electoral process.
However, the most prominent legal breaches that were monitored in these campaigns is the participation of members of the government in signing the support forms, which was done by some secretaries of ministries in some governorates, in addition to the Ismaili governor receiving members of the campaign in his office, which is considered a violation of the law, but it is in the same Context Positive indicators were reported, represented by the refusal of some executives to sign campaign forms, most notably the Governor of Qena and the President of Assiut University.
At the same time, the potential presidential candidate, Muhammad Anwar Sadat, submitted a formal complaint to the head of the National Elections Authority, explaining that he had instructed his supporters to make similar forms under the name “We Love Sadat.” They were not allowed to collect signatures or be present in these interests. They were threatened and harassed by representatives of the security services. And officials of these interests under the pretext that the elections have not started and that we are in a state of emergency, which is supposed to be applied to all candidates without exception, according to him.
Second, the potential candidates for the upcoming presidential elections ... the absent competition
Although he has not officially announced his candidacy yet, President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi is considered the first contender in the upcoming elections without any doubt, especially in his recent statement in response to a question about his intention to run, and he answered, “If the Egyptian people want that,” and in fulfillment of that will Many campaigns supporting President Al-Sisi came out by collecting signatures on millions of forms, in order to push President Al-Sisi to run for a second term. President El-Sisi enjoys the support of the majority of the parliament, government and parties, while many businessmen support him, and this is evident in the campaigns that support him.
On the other hand, it was believed that the factions opposing the policies of the current president would propose or support competing candidates. However, until now, none of those affiliated with these forces - other than the former MP Muhammad Anwar Sadat - announced clear electoral plans. Indeed, many of the initiatives that were proposed during The past two years of opposition currents that no longer have a tangible political presence on the ground now, which is what happened, for example, with the “Presidential Team Initiative” that the Egyptian space scientist and the advisor to the former President Dr. Essam Hajji confronted and started with great momentum, but they could not maintain The continuity of its activities and turns into a presidential candidate project.
And some public figures who enjoy a degree of popularity and that speculation about their intention to run have not officially announced this, among them human rights lawyer Khaled Ali, former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, as well as former candidate and head of the Strong Egypt Party Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, and former Chief of Staff Sami Anan. And the head of the Central Auditing Agency, Hisham Geneina.
At the same time that some other less fortunate figures in terms of fame and organization announced their intention to run for the presidency, among them is Dr. Muhammad Mohiuddin, a former deputy in the Shura Council and a member of the Constituent Assembly for the Drafting of the Constitution that was formed during the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, a doctor called al-Sawah, and a lawyer Nasiri claims Atef al-Najmi.
During the last period, the Observatory followed the announcement of the famous political activist, Engineer Mamdouh Hamza, about the formation of the "Solidarity Front for Change" in order to prepare for a candidate to compete with Sisi in the elections. Hamza confirmed that the front will not include any representative of the religious movement, but this front has not announced until now. About serious moves that could lead to a rival candidate for President Sisi.
Third, the position of political parties on the presidential elections
At a time when political parties are the main drivers of any electoral process, and it is within their competence to push candidates in all elections, especially the presidential, which leads to a diversity of visions and ideas, which creates a competitive and democratic environment among the parties, which in turn should be reflected in As a result of the presidential election, the greater the competition, the greater the chances of the best coming to power. However, Egypt is witnessing during the current period, a partisan environment characterized by stagnation and isolation in conjunction with the approaching presidential elections.
Instead of the political parties rushing to prepare a political candidate for each party or each party bloc, to compete for the president's justice, especially in light of the stability of the parties' legal conditions and the expansion of their base to reach 104 parties, the parties were divided between supporting the current president and supporting the campaigns calling for his candidacy again, Or preoccupation with their internal conflicts and exporting an opposition political and media discourse without presenting viable alternatives to competing for the presidential position, which may weaken the chances of these parties in the upcoming elections if they decide at a later time to nominate candidates, which is partly applicable to the Reform and Development Party, which supports its current president, Muhammad Anwar. Sadat.
The economic and security conditions and their impact on the presidential elections
First, the current economic conditions ahead of the presidential elections
Economic and social conditions play an important role in shaping the electoral environment, whether presidential, parliamentary or local. These conditions may become a decisive factor in the electoral competition for the presidential position, as they determine the nature of the candidates' programs and their political discourse, as well as greatly affect voting directions and the extent of participation in the process. Electoral in general.
The Egyptian economy has been exposed to many crises since 2011, which caused a deterioration in the economic situation and a low standard of living for a large proportion of the Egyptian people, which had a direct impact on the state of public services and the state's ability to fulfill its obligations related to providing them with adequate quality.
Successive governments after the January 2011 revolution until mid-2014 failed to take measures or adopt policies capable of stopping the economic downturn and reforming the main economic structures, which led to a sharp decline in the state’s revenues, especially from the tourism sector, which is the main source of hard currency, and exacerbated The state's general budget deficit with the expansion of resorting to debt instruments, as well as the successive governments ’continuing to inject funds to meet social and class demands and calm the political situation without sufficient cover from the cash reserve and without a tangible increase in production.
After the current president assumed power in June 2014, the adoption of financial reform measures in the context of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund aimed at reducing the state's public budget deficit and investing in infrastructure facilities closely related to attracting investments, especially the road, electricity and energy sectors, measures that had a positive impact on Financial institutions ’evaluation of the future of the business climate in Egypt, but it had a very negative impact on social services, citizens’ purchasing power, price stability, and the amount of support that the state used to provide for public services and the prices of many strategic goods and energy.
The current situation of the Egyptian economy and its social and political impacts clearly express the accumulations of previous decades in which the state - for purely political considerations - refrained from taking decisions that would build a well-defined economic model aimed at achieving decreasing rates of the annual deficit of the state's general budget and creating an appropriate climate for investment and energy transfer. Mankind to real productive energy. Therefore, many view recent economic decisions and measures as a "bitter medicine" that has been delayed in administering it to the patient for decades, but many also have severe discontent with these decisions and question their usefulness.
A reading of some of the current economic and social indicators
The Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics announced an increase in the rate of inflation during the first half of the current year by about 31%, which caused a significant increase in prices, and directly affected the prices of food, medicine and other commodities, causing citizens' dissatisfaction with the economic decisions that increased from Their burdens, and their rights to adequate food were affected as a result of the decrease in the income rate compared to the high prices. It should be noted that the Ministry of Supply has issued a decision to raise the value of the subsidy on the ration cards, so that the individual balance on the card becomes 50 pounds instead of 21, which helped reduce the size of the damages that hit prices, despite their being insufficient.
Health and education
The health and education sectors suffer from the presence of many crises that prevent the improvement of the services provided by each sector, and the health sector is witnessing a significant deterioration, whether in infrastructure or in manpower, as a result of several factors, the most prominent of which is the decrease in state allocations to the health sector, which was approved by the Egyptian constitution by 3% of GDP and gradually increasing To be consistent with international rates, which average between 8% and 10%, which is a percentage indicating the weak volume of Egyptian spending on this important sector, and the same sector also witnesses the weakness of the services provided to patients in government hospitals, whether the shortage of medicines and solutions or the spread of neglect by many doctors and staff Nursing, and the multiplicity of reports filed against government hospitals in medical incidents that caused deaths, as well as the pharmaceutical sector was severely affected by the economic reform measures, especially the liberalization of the exchange rate, as the prices of thousands of items of medicine increased with rates reaching 50%, with a severe shortage of some items It is known in the media as the "shortcomings" crisis, as Egypt is witnessing two crises related only to medicine, which are significant price increases, as well as the presence of important types of drugs. It is not present, which increases the suffering of patients, especially those with chronic diseases.
As for education Which is considered a measure of the country's renaissance, and it is witnessing a great delay in Egypt due to several factors, most notably educational curricula and the absence of development commensurate with the recent technological boom, as well as the weakness of educational institutions in terms of infrastructure and the overcrowding of classrooms in many schools, which resulted in the poor quality of education in these schools. And, the educational system needs to be completely restructured as a result of its failure to deal with work requirements. Graduates of various universities cannot find jobs related to the specializations they have studied, which is a major challenge that Egypt faces in the coming period.
Drinking water and sanitation
Egypt is facing a crisis in the water and sanitation sector. In April 2017, the Minister of Housing explained that the sanitation coverage rate reached 56% nationwide, but the percentage is divided into 83% in urban areas, while only 15% was covered in villages with sanitation, which is a percentage. It reveals a major disaster, as most villages that are not connected to sanitation suffer from poor infrastructure and mixing of drinking water with wastewater, which explains the spread of several epidemic diseases, chiefly hepatitis and kidney failure, as well as cancer among many groups of people, especially within villages, Providing safe drinking water is closely related to providing safe drainage to prevent mixing, and although Egypt has obtained many loans for upgrading this system due to it being the main reason behind the health and environmental crises in Egypt, completely ending the problem requires a lot of time and a lot of money. .
Labor and worker conditions
Citizens are generally affected by the economic reform measures, but the category of workers and pensioners are more affected by the crisis as a result of weak wages and their failure to keep pace with successive waves of high prices of food commodities and petroleum products, which in turn affected transportation, transportation and services, as well as the rise in electricity and water prices, as well as the exploitation of companies The private sector raised these measures and raised the prices of services and other products in order to avoid losses or reduce the percentage of their profits, which ultimately led to the ordinary citizen bearing all these crises. The government's efforts in the past period were highlighted by providing a monthly pension to the poorest citizens under the name of “Takaful and Dignity” pension, as this pension covers a number of one million and 700 thousand families, equal to more than 8 million citizens, according to the statements of the Ministry of Solidarity in May 2017, as well as increasing insurance pensions With a rate of 15% serving 10 million citizens, approving a periodic bonus for those addressing the civil service law at a value of 7%, and approving an exceptional cost premium of 7%. These decisions are part of the easing of economic reform measures.
On the other hand, it increased in the last period Labor protests and strikes From work because of wages and the disappearance of bonuses in many factories and some companies, and despite the difficult conditions in which workers live, their vigils were met with severe attacks, which resulted in the intervention of the security forces, and even the issuance of court rulings against the workers that ignited the anger of the workers and raised the concerns of some The other matter, which ultimately led to Egypt being placed on the blacklist of the International Labor Organization, due to government practices against workers, as well as the violation of the current trade union law and the government's draft trade union law of Convention 87 on the right to organize, which stipulates the right of workers to organize themselves, This indicates that the workers file faces many challenges, the most prominent of which is adherence to international standards, as well as amending local legislation to ensure better rights for workers
The impact of economic and social conditions on the presidential elections
Economic and social conditions are one of the main files for the upcoming presidential elections, due to their direct impact on the citizens, namely the voters, that is, those controlling the entire course of the electoral process. These conditions may affect the course of the elections themselves through several points, namely:
- The impact of economic and social conditions on the candidates' programs
Given the importance and direct influence of this situation on citizens, it is likely that presidential candidates or some of them will exploit these situations in their favor, as it is a successful card in gaining support, for example the candidate adopts the workers ’cause and defends their rights in order to gain the support of the workers And, the candidate will not only win the support of the group who demanded their rights, but his image will appear in front of all workers who will see that he is a defender of the whole cause, and thus he can obtain the support of the largest number of workers, and so on for the rest of the issues of health, education, high prices, pensions and other influential issues. Directly on the economic and social conditions of citizens
- Can these situations be exploited against a particular candidate?
To answer this question, two points must be addressed, the first of which is that one of the presidential candidates is the current head of the state, and therefore it is possible for his competing candidates to highlight only the negatives related to these conditions in order to weaken the competitor's image before the citizens, and to show the extent of this candidate’s failure in managing Those files and thus he adopts solutions that cover the negatives of his opponent, who will lose a number of his supporters, and he will win a number of supporters as well.
The second point is related to the position of one of the candidates towards one of the cases, or the presence of recorded statements condemning the candidate in a case, for example the case of the people of Al-Warraq, which occupied public opinion last July, could be used twice, the first time to distort the image of the current president, given that the orders to evacuate the island were in His reign and I know that it happened, the second thing is condemnation, so a candidate may have made statements during this crisis expressing his disregard for the demands of the people of the island or his support for the government's decision without looking at the conditions of the people, and when he is nominated he will not refer to his previous statements, which he knows well will be against him. Then his competing candidates re-publish these statements and opinions in order to weaken his image in front of his supporters. Thus, it can be said that the file of the economic and social conditions is filled with many important issues in which each case can affect gaining or losing popular support towards a particular candidate.
- The impact of economic and social conditions on participation in the presidential elections
The economic and social conditions mainly affect participation in the presidential elections, whether through candidacy or through the participation of citizens in casting their electoral votes. Bad conditions represent an obstacle and a challenge to those who want to run for president, as those who intend to run feel that what previous presidents left behind is a burden. A heavy burden on their shoulders and that there are difficulties they will not bear, and therefore they feel that in the event of failure in managing these situations, they will be blamed by the people who will not accept excuses and will see nothing but negligence, which reflects the reluctance of many public figures to participate in the presidential elections, despite From their political and economic experiences, given that all the situations in Egypt require hard work, and reform will not take place easily and smoothly, but rather after hard and long work, and the reluctance to participate may take some time. The more participation in the elections, the more democracy there will be. Likewise, the more stable the situation, especially the economic and social, the greater the participation in the candidacy.
The participation of citizens in elections in general is determined by a set of indicators, starting with the democratic environment and the freedom to express opinion, passing through the economic and social conditions, so the better the conditions, the greater the participation, and the worse the living and economic conditions of the citizens, the less the desire to vote and the boycott increases, due to the absence of hope In change and frustration due to multiple crises.
Despite the great importance of the economic and social conditions that reflect the condition of citizens in general, dealing with these situations with a degree of importance increases with the approaching presidential elections, given their impact on the course of the electoral process, so it can be used on the one hand as a pressure card on a candidate to weaken his popularity, and it can also be used as a card The economic and social situation is one of the issues that affect the citizens' lives most, and which concern them more than politics does, so the more living conditions improve, the quality of education increases, the health sector develops, wages improve, and workers obtain the highest amount of rights, then political awareness increases and increases It also includes the rates of participation in the elections in form and content.
The economic and social conditions in Egypt so far carry with them many issues that directly affect citizens, and these conditions are raging in light of the implementation of the economic reform plan and the negative effects it caused on the living conditions of Egyptians, especially the working class, so it is likely that the These issues are on the programs of candidates for the upcoming presidential elections, which are scheduled to start in early February 2018.
Second, the current security situation ahead of the presidential elections
Despite the change in the political situation since the January 2011 revolution until now, the security situation in Egypt is still witnessing a state of instability, and despite the state declaring a fierce war against terrorist groups, not a week goes by without one or more targeted terrorist attacks. Mainly the army and police forces, while attacks appearing from time to time against Copts and their religious facilities. With every major terrorist incident, the security leaders announce a new war against terrorism aimed at uprooting it from its roots, without a clear timeline for that, despite the efforts of law enforcement forces to carry out dozens of pre-emptive operations, uncover hundreds of dens and terrorist hideouts, and eliminate hundreds of elements. Takfiri from time to time, but the terrorist operations did not stop, and if they stopped for a certain period, they would come back in a strong way and their strike would be more painful.
By observing the security situation in the recent period, we find that terrorist groups target the army and police forces in the first place, especially in North Sinai, as the peninsula is the main source of the takfiri elements, and the frequency of bloody attacks against Christian citizens has increased since the June 30 revolution. Terrorist operations took a new geographical curve, with the end of 2014, when the Ansar Beit al-Maqdis terrorist organization pledged allegiance to the so-called Sinai Province, a branch of ISIS terrorist organization, and since that time, the frequency of terrorist attacks targeting law enforcement forces has increased, especially in North Sinai. While the organization's branch focused on its attacks outside Sinai, targeting Copts inside churches, as well as targeting security directorates, police stations and departments.
It seems that ISIS, despite its focus on targeting the army and police forces, its highest goals are destabilizing the political stability of the state, and therefore the organization tended to use a parallel strategy, which is targeting Copts to cause sectarian strife in order to deepen sectarian conflict among the masses of Egyptians, and on the other hand, the bloody bombings The organization's actions aim to inflame Copts' anger against the regime and change their support for the ruling regime, which indicates the existence of a strategic dimension for these terrorist groups.
ISIS began its campaign against the Copts by targeting the Church of St. Mark in Abbasiya in Cairo last December, then killing a number of Egyptian Christians residing in Sinai during January and February, which resulted in the displacement of dozens of Christian families from North Sinai, as well as the brutal attack on the churches of Tanta and Alexandria in This April, dozens of martyrs and injured were left by their criminal actions.
As a result of the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, there has been an increase in organized terrorist attacks in Egypt. It seems that the members of the organization have fled to Egypt with their field experience they gained there, to settle in the desert of Egypt, and the organization has helped spread the state of political division between the ruling regime and the opposition forces, especially the faction. The Brotherhood, which was recently classified as a terrorist group, as the organization was able to recruit many young Egyptians among its ranks, as a result of generating a desire for revenge in them due to the security suppression of the political opposition, as well as members and supporters of the Brotherhood, who joined the organization in order to avenge their leaders behind bars.
In the same context, the Brotherhood, through its armed arms, failed to organize its ranks in light of the continuous security prosecutions of its members, and the arrest of a large number of leaders, which greatly contributed to controlling their violence, but some relatively weak movements continued to launch attacks from time to time. Among these movements, “Hasm Movement, Revolutionary Punishment Movement,” their terrorist acts focused on using explosive devices to detonate electricity generators and public facilities, while they were able from time to time to target policemen after tracking their movements.
It can be said that the government, despite its relative success in imposing its security control internally, but the border governorates, especially North Sinai, have failed with them all security operations, and the elimination of terrorism has become one of the most prominent challenges facing the current government, and it will have a direct impact on the atmosphere of the presidential elections. It will also represent a major challenge for the next president, especially in light of the efforts exerted by foreign diplomacy to stop the countries sponsoring terrorism and financing terrorist groups in Egypt. And if terrorist groups continue to commit their crimes during the election stages, they may affect the course and results of the entire electoral process. Electoral committees may be targeted, leading to voters ’reluctance for fear of their lives, or threatening candidates with assassination, which necessitates the necessity for state agencies to be clear in announcing an effective strategy. In the fight against terrorism, and setting a timetable that carries a measure of accuracy and comfort to the citizens.