The Constitutional Court decided to issue its verdict on the invalidity of the parliamentary elections on Sunday. Whatever the verdict will be, the problem of the next parliament lies in the way the regime handled the election law and the redistricting of the electoral constituencies, leaving the whole matter to law and security experts in the absence of politicians, just as was the case under Mubarak. They failed to devise a law that cannot be deemed unconstitutional.
A law that does not answer why are there only four absolute election lists and not more and why were the electoral constituencies redistricted in such a random way like never before in the history of Egypt or any other country of the world will not take us one step forward.
A law that reduces the geographical sphere of the constituencies and the number of voters to the extent that there would be a deputy for every 120,000 to 130,000 voters, which means a candidate could win if he gets 10,000 votes from his direct entourage, will open the door to clan-based votes and vote buyers. And the constitutionality of such a law could easily be challenged because we would end up with certain constituencies represented by two or three seats, which I had mentioned in my article entitled ‘The Worst Election Law’.
The futile argument that we should increase the number of deputies to match the increase in the population forgot that India has a population of 1.2 billion and only 550 members of parliament, not tens of thousands of deputies because every 130,000 voters need one.
The uneven division of 420 seats for the constituencies of candidates running individually gave us 119 constituencies represented by two seats, 77 by one seat and 35 by three seats, which proves the absence of a comprehensive political vision.
The electoral system should be devised for the whole nation and not tailored to the size of each constituency. I had suggested before to have two deputies for every 500,000 voters, except in border constituencies like Halayeb and Shalateen.
Nations that want to advance do not let professionals tailor laws for existing administrative conditions, they have a political vision that builds such conditions and amends them periodically.
We were used to having two deputies for each constituency, one a worker or farmer and the other a professional. Now that the Constitutional Committee of 50 courageously abolished that system, we need to capitalize on this and allocate two seats to the constituencies of candidates running individually.
As to the lists, it is impossible to include all candidates in one list. It is healthier if they compete against one another and if the lists truly reflect the political diversity of society, especially of the forces that support the great uprising of 30 June.
And the political parties are weak, as they could not come up with competitive lists and surrendered to the “In Love For Egypt” list that is said to be backed by the government. This caused coalitions to collapse, others were not able to collect enough candidates for their lists and yet others were left with no choice but to join the “In Love For Egypt” list that they think will win.
To get out of this confusion, we should have 25 lists, one for each governorate, over which the best candidates of the “In Love For Egypt,” “Egypt’s Awakening,” “The Egyptian Front,” and the “Nour Party” lists compete.
The Constitution gave the president the right to appoint 5 percent of the members of parliament, which is unprecedented in the history of Egypt and other countries of the world, so as to make sure the council includes qualified members and to take into account the absence of certain societal segments that do not get elected.
Will the verdict of the Constitutional Court on Sunday correct the structural flaws of the election law and the redistricting process or will we continue to err and pay the price?
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm