Application period for parliamentary elections extended until Monday

The High Elections Commission has extended the application period for the parliamentary and Shura Council elections until Monday in response to the demands of political parties, Abdel Moez Ibrahim, head of the commission, told MENA on Saturday.

Sixteen newly formed political parties had submitted a memorandum to Egypt's military rulers on Friday evening to demand extending the period to apply for candidacy for an extra week.

The parties also demanded that the parliamentary elections be postponed for two weeks, and that political isolation legislation, which would ban former National Democratic Party (NDP) members from politics, not be issued.

The demands came after a number of political forces met at the headquarters of the Egyptian Liberation Party to discuss the present situation and the prevailing confusion in Egyptian political life, particularly as it is hard to form unified electoral lists due to disagreements between political forces, Ibrahim Zahran, chairman of the Sufi-led party, told MENA.
He said the demand to postpone the parliamentary elections is to give candidates a chance to announce their platforms, and the demand to not issue political isolation legislation is because the majority of candidates are former NDP members.

Zahran said that the extension request is partly due to a lawyers' strike which closed some of the courts in which committees receive nomination papers, which prevented many candidates from submitting papers.
Furthermore, he pointed out that 21 October and 22 October were weekend days so government departments responsible for issuing the required legal documents were closed, including the Interior Ministry, which issues character reference letters, and the Defense Ministry, which issues mandatory conscription papers.

Zahran added that young political parties have found it difficult to arrange lists and need more time.

The memorandum also included a request to allow unified lists to bear the name of a coalition or alliance, rather than the name of one of the political parties putting forward candidates on that list.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim announced that the number of applicants for the parliamentary elections has reached 4263 for the single-winner seats and 73 lists on the list-based system; and applicants for the Shura Council elections has reached 811 for the single-winner seats and 26 lists on the list system. 

The High Elections Commission previously decided to extend the application period until 5pm on Saturday. 

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