Why is al-Sisi rushing into the House of Representatives elections?

The National Elections Authority in Egypt has set the House of Representatives elections date so that they elect a new council before the end of this year. According to Article 106 of the constitution, the term of membership of the Council of Representatives was fixed to five years, starting from the date of its first meeting, and it was necessary to hold elections for the new parliament within the 60 days preceding the end of its term. The current parliament’s first meeting was on January 10, 2016, and its term expires on January 9, 2021. According to what has been in place over recent years, the elections were to be held during November and December, which is the legal period. Still, the commission has set September 17 to receive nomination papers, provided that the elections will be held during the next months of October and November.


According to observers, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime aims, behind the acceleration of the election dates for the House of Representatives, to contain the candidates for the state of public anger. The wave of anger has escalated significantly in the rural and poor areas, due to the ongoing removal of buildings and residential units. Al-Sisi’s regime insists that the last day of September is the end of the period for submitting reconciliation requests for building violations and paying their fees.

It is strange that this step came despite the confirmation of the current Speaker of the Council, Ali Abdel-Aal, and some members of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, that they will hold a new legislative role before the first Thursday of October. Perhaps expediting the elections and opening the door for candidacy so quickly, according to observers, confirms the regime’s desire to show a new image of the authorities, with new faces, to calm the public down. Observers are surprised that the elections will start days after the start of studies in Egypt, scheduled for October 17, which threatens the educational process and suspend schools for several days to prepare the committees and procedures for the voting process.

Calls for revolution

Al-Sisi’s regime also wants to stop calls for protests against it, on 20 September. The Egyptian businessman residing abroad, Mohammed Ali, called on Egyptians to protest against al-Sisi on 20 September, to topple his regime. Ali spoke about the unprecedented rates of price hikes and the country’s worsening economic conditions. He also referred to the Egyptian regime’s failure to confront the coronavirus (COVID-19) and called on Egyptians to protest against the corrupt government.

The al-Sisi regime is also facing failure in managing the Ethiopian Renaissance Dam file and the Libyan crisis. All this increased Egyptians’ anger and many expressed their support for the calls for protests on 20 September.


The House of Representatives elections enjoy great official and popular focus, unlike the senate elections, which were held during the past weeks, and witnessed a great aversion between the candidates and the voters. Observers considered that the senate elections, an advisory council, were a dress rehearsal for the government. The government is trying in the next parliament elections to maximise the positives and reduce the negatives. Observers add that the senate elections passed, and many did not pay attention because of its lack of influence on political events.

Egyptians’ lack of interest in these elections is also due to the limited powers of the second chamber of parliament members and their low level of influence in drafting legislation and decision-making. Parliament elections in Egypt are receiving apparent attention from different segments, as they are historically considered a symbol of power and influence. Many political and tribal figures do not hesitate to compete through parties close to the government or in opposition to it or independently.

In the absence of any opposition in Egypt, most of the candidates are from pro-government parties, competing for their recommendations between the intelligence services and the National Security Agency. The Egyptian constitution stipulates that the House of Representatives shall be composed of no less than 450 members, elected by direct, secret, generic ballot, whereby no less than a quarter of the total number of seats is allocated to women. The candidate must be Egyptian, enjoy his civil and political rights, and hold a primary education completion certificate at least. His age should not be less than 25 on the day the candidacy is opened.

The current House of Representatives approved the electoral division law submitted by the Support Egypt coalition, which stipulates that the number of parliament members will be 568, with 284 seats allocated for individual elections through 143 electoral districts, 284 seats for the whole closed list system.


The Egyptian researcher, Rami Hafez, denounced the holding of the elections in light of the state of repression, the security restrictions on opposition parties, especially the civil movement parties. Many of the major parties’ leaders are between arrest, have been banned from travelling or appearing in the media. He denounced the election law, saying: “According to the capabilities of the opposition parties, which are subjected to abuse, they will not be able to form an electoral list.” The lack of parties’ abilities comes due to the security services’ tracking of the movements of any public figure, on top of whom are those with opinions opposed to the ruling regime.

Hafez pointed out, “The Egyptian state has not comprehended the big mistake that occurred in the senate elections, and continues to marginalise citizens in choosing their representatives and preventing parties from public work.” He added, “The failure of the parties to form any parliamentary majority is a constitutional violation and justifies the representation of vulnerable groups, such as women, Copts, and people with special needs, are all slogans to cover up pursuing parties or political action.” He pointed out that this level of thinking has reached its lowest levels, and surpasses the 2010 elections that caused the January revolution. He concluded his speech by saying, “The next parliament will completely contradict all international standards for democratic elections, the most important of which are organising the decision-making process, enabling the individual or institutions to participate in decision-making.”