Egypt’s electoral law

Egypt’s new electoral system will be a mixed-member system with a 50:50 split between its nominal and list tiers (Daily News Egypt, 20 July).

The district magnitude of the nominal tier will remain two, with 126 districts. The list tier will also be districted, with 58 constituencies. The average district magnitude of the list tier thus would work out to barely more than four.

While the article does not discuss the relationship between the two tiers, I will assume it is mixed-member majoritarian (MMM, or “parallel”) in the absence of anything to indicate that the list seats are compensatory (as MMP). Given the low magnitude of the list tier districts, and the use of 2-seat rather than 1-seat districts for the nominal tier, even if it were MMP in form, the proportionality would be minimal. (Assuming the retention of two votes per voter, 2-seat districts mean lower proportionality than 1-seat districts, given plurality or majority formula.)

According to Ahram, 21 July, at least two parties, the Wafd (liberal) and Freedom and Justice (Muslim Brotherhood) have indicated that they would have preferred a pure-list system. “To them, the party-list system forces citizens to elect representatives on the grounds of their political platforms rather than on tribal or familial connections,” according to the article.

The system retains the old requirement that half the seats be reserved for “workers and peasants,” although it is unclear how this applies to the two tiers. Apparently this quota is a constitutional provision. (See previous discussion of how this was applied under the dictatorship.)

The assembly size will be 514, including 10 appointees of the president.

Thanks to Tom Lundberg for sending me the Ahram article link, and Ahwa Talk for the Daily New Egypt link.

One thought on “Egypt’s electoral law

  1. It really amazes me how contrived some of the voting systems out there are. What on Earth is the reason for having 58 multi-member constituencies in addition to the nominal tier? If the purpose of the list tier is to de-personalize voting, why go to so much trouble to make it as personal as possible? I really can’t think of anything good to say about this system. Even the nominal tier is nonsensical. A two seat nominal tier seems completely useless as it offers neither the closeness between voters and representatives of a SMD nor the broader perspective and opportunity for semi-PR of a larger tier counted by limited or cumulative voting. Frankly, I’m not sure what the idea with this monstrosity was.

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