Elections commission announces 5720 parliamentary candidates

The state-run High Elections Commission (HEC) announced today that 5720 candidates, including 132 women, will run in the parliamentary election slated for 28 November.

The commission said the candidates–who include independents as well as members of different parties–are contesting 508 seats, half of which are for farmers and workers and 64 of which are allocated to women.

The nomination process, which started five days ago, was brought to a close yestarday. Menawhile, independent and Muslim Brotherhood candidates have complained about harassment by security.

The ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) submitted its candidate list at the last minute before the closure of nominations at 5PM, causing the HEC announcement to be delayed. Candidates nominated by the NDP include ministers, public figures and dozens of businessmen.

The NDP said it has nominated more than one candidate in some constituencies to avoid creating any rifts within the party.

The Wafd, the largest officially-recognized opposition party, is fielding 194 candidates, while the Tagammu and Nasserist parties are fielding 82 and 47 respectively. Other parties have nominated fewer candidates.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the largest outlawed opposition group, is also fielding many candidates, who are running as independents to avoid harassment by security. The group has complained that government security officials have removed the names of some of their candidates in Alexandria. Brotherhood sources added that the HEC's Minya branch has declined to accept their candidates' nomination papers and has refused to approve their campaign symbols.

The Muslim Brotherhood is contesting one third of the seats in the upcoming parliamentary election. The NDP, for its part, is hoping for a sweeping victory in preparation for the 2011 presidential election, in which President Hosni Mubarak is expected to compete for a six presidential term.

Observers believe the Egyptian regime will try to undermine the Brotherhood’s chances in the parliamentary election and prevent a repetition of the 2005 election outcome, when the Brotherhood won 20 percent of the parliamentary seats.

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