Egyptians may be revving up to vote on the constitutional referendum, but many political activists say that what follows is just as important. Will voters choose their new president first or will begin by voting in parliamentary representatives?
Egypt’s parliamentary and presidential elections: a chicken or egg dilemma
Tuesday ,24 December 2013
Proponents of parliament first argue that they fear a dictator-style president, who controls both the executive and legislative branches.
“The 6 April Youth Movement believes that the state should not deviate from the roadmap that was announced on 3 July 2013,” said Mohammed Moustafa, a spokesperson for the group's political bureau.
Moustafa added that in order to avoid the ‘dictator’ president scenario, Egyptians need to move forward with parliamentary elections as soon as possible.
“The roadmap said that parliamentary elections should be first,” he added. “If we start with the presidential elections, it will be in direct violation of the roadmap, which will cause chaos in the political scene.”
The Nour party, which announced earlier this week that it is in full support of the amended constitution, had similar fears.
“If we start with the presidential elections, we will grant the new president both legislative and executive authorities,” Salah Abdel Maqsoud, one of the party's leaders, told Egypt Independent. “We are going to repeat the same scenario that took place during the rule of former president Mohammed Morsy.”
Ahmed Darag, a National Salvation Front leader, also said that he is against holding presidential elections first. His comments came as he spoke to MBC Masr's Mona Al-Shazly.
“We must not repeat the same scenario as Morsy when the absence of a legislative body made him hold both executive and legislative powers, which allowed him to pass laws that served his political desires,” he said.
Darag also said that this is no guarantee that the next president will not do the same.
The NSF leader added that all those involved should stick to the 30 June 2013 roadmap. “Any amendments will send an absurd message to the world,” he said.
On the other hand, Shehab Wagih, spokesperson for the liberal party, Free Egyptians, told Egypt Independent that the party encourages early presidential elections in order to achieve stability.
“We are already being ruled by an interim president, Adly Mansour, in the absence of parliament, so what would the problem be if we handed the new president this power for three or four months until we hold new parliamentary elections?” he said.
Wagih also said that his party is open to the idea of holding both parliamentary and presidential elections at the same time, if it is logistically possible.
Ahmed Imam, spokesperson for Egypt Strong party, which is headed by former presidential candidate Abdel Moniem Aboul Fotouh, said that it is too early to raise the question.
“Let us wait for the constitutional referendum and see the results first,” he said.
Imam also said that he is skeptical about how elections would take place with the ongoing street turmoil. He said that all political parties need to come to terms and keep public interest as their top priority.