Egypt youth coalition says to contest elections

CAIRO - An Egyptian youth coalition that played a major role in ousting President Hosni Mubarak has said it will field candidates for parliamentary elections to counter organised Islamist groups and remnants of the former regime.

By (Reuters)

Published: Sat 24 Sep 2011, 12:18 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 9:42 AM

Egypt’s Revolution Youth Coalition, formed in the early days of the uprising that toppled Mubarak on Feb. 11, said on a social networking site monitored on Thursday that it plans to field as many as 200 independent candidates under a proportional list system with its name.

A political analyst warned, however, that the youth groups face an uphill battle against the old guard and those movements that may be better funded.

“Youth groups do not have the money or the organisational ability or the keys to electoral constituencies that would allow them to reach seats that truly reflect the major role they played in Egypt’s revolution,” Nabil Abdel Fattah of Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies said.

“All the youth groups and those that participated in the revolution are still trying to catch up and they may not be able to compete against professional coalitions that know the secrets of the ballot box,” he added.

The youth coalition, made up of activists from across the political spectrum, plays a pivotal role in organising protests and has an active social networking profile. The group would be fielding the largest number of candidates under one list, competing with the well-organised Muslim Brotherhood and liberal opposition party al-Wafd.

“The unity of revolutionary forces was the way for us to succeed in tearing down one of the most stubborn dictatorships of the world,” the coalition said on its Facebook page.

“The coalition believes that our great revolution, in which thousands of youth sacrificed blood, is now in danger,” they added, explaining the decision to contest the parliamentary election.

The poll for the lower house would start on Nov. 21 and the vote for the upper house would begin on Jan. 22, with each vote being held in three stages, state newspapers reported on Sunday.

The interim military rulers have said the vote would be a mix between a proportional list and individual candidate system.

Political groups have been pressuring the army council to make the vote exclusively based on the proportional list system, in an attempt to bar remnants of the ousted regime from using money and tribalism to win the election.

The coalition said it was opposed to the current election law and added its weight to voices calling for the individual candidacy system to be cancelled. The statement also demanded a clearer timetable for elections, saying the presidential vote should not be held later than April 2012.

“We invite all political forces to reject the Islamic-secular polarisation that has been forced on Egyptian society and to create a new parameter where those who win are the ones who believe in continuing the goals and responsibilities of the January 25 revolution,” the group added.

It did not announce the names of its candidates.

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