The Road to Elections in Egypt: Electoral Reforms since February 2011

July 25, 2011, 7:15 p.m.

The Road to Elections in Egypt: Electoral Reforms since February 2011 is a briefing paper published by Democracy Reporting International.  After the Egyptian revolution that took place in February 2011 Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took control of the country and presented a transitional timetable.  The timetable lists parliamentary elections to take place in November of this year.  Those who are elected will be responsible for writing the new constitution which will then be approved by referendum.  There are concerns that the elections are going to be held too soon.  These concerns stem from a worry that there will not be enough time to ensure that the electoral commission is ready, that staff have been trained, that voters have had the chance to obtain the proper photo ID’s which will be required to vote, and the limited number of judges who will be required to administer the country wide elections.  The SCAF has already implemented some constitutional reforms but they have not addressed all of the weaknesses that the old consitution had.

This briefing paper examines progress made in reforming the political-electoral legal system in Egypt following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak on 12 February 2011. It also points to enduring weaknesses and ambiguities in the electoral framework. A full report, which explores these questions in detail and backs up the findings of this briefing paper, is available upon request from DRI.

If the September election date is to hold, many legal and organisational challenges must be overcome. The most significant concerns include: revising Egypt‘s notoriously deficient electoral laws; appointing new personnel to manage institutions with badly tarnished reputations; deciding on a new election system and possibly re-drawing the electoral boundaries; compiling a completely new national voter register; and adopting a host of procedural regulations necessary for elections. These activities must take place before the election can be called– no later than 30 days before election day.

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