Egyptian Women in 2015 Parliamentary Elections

Fighters On The Individual System, Warriors On the Electoral Lists

Report on Egypt’s Parliamentary Elections 2015

Prepared by
Research Unit
• Ghada Lotfy
• Sahar Salah
• Amal Sakr
• Ahmed Mohamed
• Hanaa Ahmed
• Dina Hussein
• Amany Samy

International Relations Unit
• Noha Farag
• Heba Lotfy
• Mariam Mecky
• Nehal Ali

Edited by
Nehad Abol-Komsan
ECWR Chairwoman

Introduction

Egypt’s Parliamentary election is the third and final step of Egypt’s road map that was set after the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi after mass protests in 2013.
The electoral marathon started off with liquidity of parties as the number of political parties in Egypt after the January 25 revolution was estimated at 104. Nonetheless, Most of those parties did not succeed in creating populist bases. Moreover, a number of party leaders withdrew from running in Parliament, reducing the party’s chances of winning seats in Parliament.
Within this context, and since the announcement of the start of the preparation for the Parliamentary elections, many coalitions were dissolved before the decision of postponing elections and after, also new coalitions were formed. There were several conflicts and withdrawals within the parliamentary coalitions mostly due to disagreements on the number of seats.
The administrative court deemed that the decision of former PM Ibrahim Mehleb to redistribute some electoral district as invalid in addition to order another medical check up to even those who took it. This put more financial burden on the candidates. The Court’s verdicts caused more confusion.
The verdict led some lists as “Sahwet Masr”, translated as “Egypt Awakens”, and Social Justice Coalition and individual candidates to withdraw, in addition to some coalitions threatening withdrawal. This verdict increased the financial burden on female candidates allowing capital to lead the way.
The Law No. 46/2014 of the House of Representatives stipulated the presence of 56 women on the electoral lists as well as 14 women as presidential appointees ensuring a total of 70 women in Parliament.
As Article 5 of the law of the House of Representatives stated that, as the translated in the official Gazette:
In the first elections of the House of Representatives following the entry into force of this law, each list for which 15 seats are allocated must at least include the following numbers and designations:

– Three candidates who are Christian.
– Two candidates who are workers or farmers.
– Two candidates who are youths.
– A candidate who is a person with a disability.
– A candidate who is an Egyptian residing abroad.
Provided that the candidates with the above-listed designations along with other candidates include no less than seven women.
Each list for which 45 seats are allocated must at least include the following numbers and designations:
– Nine candidates who are Christian.
– Nine candidates who are workers or farmers.
– Six candidates who are youths.
– Three candidates who are persons with disabilities.
– Three candidates who are Egyptians residing abroad.
Provided that the candidates with the above-listed designations along with other candidates include no less than twenty-one women.
In addition, according to Article 27 of the law of House of Representatives
The President of the Republic may appoint to the House a number of members not exceeding 5% of the number of elected members, half of whom at least shall be Women.
Nonetheless, the law disregarded allocating individual seats for women leading women to suffer from a law disregarding their candidacy on individual seats which account for 80% of the Parliament seats, given it have her an acceptable representation in around 20% of the seats and the financial burden of the individual candidacy.
It is as if the law came to throw dust in one’s eye.In reality, the law does not further women’s representation in the Parliament; it does not allocate women seats in 80% of the Parliament. Decision makers did not care about having a Parliament properly and adequately representing women and their contributions in society.
The total of female candidates are 652 women, out of which 279 running for individual seats out of a total of 5420 candidates, amounting to only 5.1%.
Meanwhile, there was has been 376 female candidates out of a total of 780 representing to 48.2 %.
Thereby, the total number of candidates is 652 female candidates out of a total 6200 candidates running on the electoral lists and individual lists in the Parliamentary elections 2015, representing 10.03%.

As for political parties’ nomination of women,
It seems the political parties settled for the quota stipulated by the Parliamentary law, as most of the political parties either did not nominate woman for individual seats or nominated a limited number of women. According to ECWR statistics, 23 political parties did not nominate any woman as individual candidates. Meanwhile, Wafd party, which nominated the highest number of women, nominated only 9 women out of a total of 149 candidates for individual seats.
As for the electoral lists, all of them with the exception of National Reawakening bloc settled for the minimum number of female candidates according to the law. The number of female candidates on the main lists was 135 out of a total of 285 candidates with a percentage of 47%.
Regarding the media coverage of female candidates, small news coverage cared about them in quality and quantity. Many news pieces did not properly focus on female candidates’ problems and obstacles as the news headlines just focused on the low numbers of female candidates. There was also conflicting news on the number of female candidates in different candidates, which came as part of the inaccuracy of the news coverage of the electoral process.

Report Methodology
The report was based on a number of research methodologies and documentation, including:
– Monitoring reports of ECWR’s Operating Room
– Data and reports of the High Elections Committee (HEC).
– Media reports from a number of newspapers varying from governmental, privately owned and partisan. There are El Watan, Al Akhbar, Al Wafd, Nisf El Donya magazine, Parlmany website, Youm7 website, Al Masry Al Youm website site, Al Shorouk website. Al Tahrir website
– Direct contact and phone calls with potential female candidates to collect data and make sure whether they are running for Parliament or not.
– Personal interviews with some female candidates.

Challenges faced in the preparation of this report
– There is no gender segregated data produced by the HEC. Given that the HEC is the institution responsible to present accurate information on the number of female and male candidates. This put extra burden on ECWR operation room, which took on itself to produce gender segregated, numbers and percentages of women’s candidacy.
– There are some errors in the number of women on the published electoral lists in some newspapers, in addition to some spelling mistakes. This hindered the identification of the candidate in some cases. In these cases, ECWR operation room had to check the number of female candidates.
Report’s Division:
The report consists of:
• First: History of women’s political participation
• Second: Legislative environment for 2015 Parliamentary elections
• Third: The Nomination Phase for 2015 Parliamentary elections, from a gender perspective
• Fourth: Voting & Results Round
• Recommendations
• Annexes

First: History of women’s political participation Egyptian women and Parliament:
Egyptian women preceded women in all Arab countries in the field of parliamentary representation. Egyptian women’s participation in parliamentary representation in the legislative assemblies began in the mid-twentieth century when women entered Parliament for the first time as a MP in 1957. However, despite the fact that it has been almost half a century since Egyptian women entered parliament, women’s participation in parliament is still weak.
The stages that women went through to seek political rights can be summarized in five stages in addition to the current one:
– First stage 1956 – 1970
The 1957 elections witnessed 8 women running for Parliament, with two women winning who are Rawya Attia and Amina Shoukry
– Second stage 1970 – 1986
This stage witnessed 1309 women becoming members of the basic units of the Socialist Union in 1971. Afterwards, the law no 38/ 1972 was amended to allocate 30 seats in Parliament for women, with at least one seat per governorate for women. This resulted in 35 female MPs amounting to 8% out of total seats of Parliament; 30 of out them won through allocated seats, 2 through general seats and 2 appointed, out of the 10 presidential appointees.
– Third stage 1986 – 2005
Even though the quota was dissolved in 1986, women’s representation in Parliament remained relatively high. Women’s representation in 1987 House of Representative was 3.9% as it reached 18 female MP out of a total of 456 MP. This is attributed to the electoral party lists as some lists included women. Yet, with the individual system, women’s representation declined in the successive Parliaments during this period. In 2005 Parliament, there were only 8 female MPs, with a percentage of 1.8% out of the total number of MPs.
– Four stage 2009 – 2010
During this stage, the law no. 149/2009 was issued increasing the number of Parliamentary constituencies and allocating 64 seats for women in Parliament as well as women can run for general seats.
In 2010, the total number of female candidates is 456, out of which there is 380 women quota out of which 380 women on women’s seats, 249 independent seats in addition to 76 female candidates on general seats. 64 women won and one presidential appointee reaching a total of number 65 women in Parliament.
– Fifth stage: After 25 January 2011 till 2013
The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) issued a law amendment cancelling women’s quota. Instead, it stipulated that there should be at least one woman on the electoral lists without determining her position on the list. Hence, in the light of this law, the 2011- 2012 Parliamentary elections was held with only 11 women winning in the House of Representatives; 9 elected and 2 presidential appointees. Meanwhile, in the Shura Council, the upper house at the time, only 4 women won. All were on the electoral lists except for one was on individual seat s.
– Sixth stage: 2014
After the June 30 revolution in 2013, the Shura Council was dissolved and the 2014 Constitution was issued. This Constitution is considered one of the best Constitutions with regards to women’s rights. It included gains for women in the different thresholds of political, civil, economic and social rights.
The following table shows the representation of women in Parliament from 1957: 2011
table1
There are 3 legal frameworks regulating the electoral process of the House of Representatives, which are:
– 2014 Constitution
– Law No. 46/2014 of the House of Representatives
– Law No. 202/2014 Concerning Electoral Districting for the Elections of the House of Representatives
– Law No. 45/2014 on the Regulation of the Exercise of Political Rights
According to those laws, the Parliamentary elections should have been held during March and April 2015. However, the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled at the end of February 2015 that division of the electoral constituencies is invalid after all candidates already submitted their paper to the High Elections Committee.
This led to:
– Delay of the electoral process till the law of electoral constituencies is amended
– Reopening the door for candidacy again
– Redo the medical check on all candidates even those who already did it
– Withdrawal of Egypt Awakens bloc, and Social justice bloc from the election in objection on the redoing of the medical checks
President Abdel Fatah El-Sisi ratified the amendments of Law No. 202/2014 Concerning Electoral Districting for the Elections of the House of Representatives on 9 July, 2015 thus paving the way for the long-delayed polls to be held.It divides Egypt into 205 individual electoral constituencies and four geographical constituencies for closed party lists.
The House of Representatives will be composed of 596 MPs. Out of the total, 448 will be elected as independents, 120 as party-based deputies, and 28 will be appointed by the president. Thus, the elections system is a mixed system of individual candidacy system and winner-take-all party.
The individual candidacy system focuses on independents. According to it, the country is divided to several electoral constituencies with each electoral district selecting one or two MPs to represent it.This system privileged with the MP’s increased commitment to his/her small constituency. It also gives the opportunity for the candidacy of both; independent or party affiliated.
As for winner-take-all party, it depends on selecting one of the lists competing on the four geographical constituencies.
The 2014 Constitution has set the representation of some groups as the following:
Article (11)
The State shall ensure the achievement of equality between women and men in all civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.
The State shall take the necessary measures to ensure the appropriate representation of women in the houses of representatives, as specified by Law.
Articles 243 and 244 in Transitional Provisions Section in the 2014 Constitution
Article (243)
The State shall endeavor that workers and farmers be appropriately represented in the first House of Representatives to be elected after this Constitution is approved, as regulated by law.
Article (244)
The State shall endeavor that youth, Christians, persons with disability and Egyptians living abroad be appropriately represented in the first House of Representatives to be elected after this Constitution is approved, as regulated by law.
According to the previous articles, it is highlighted that the Constitution ensured the minimum representation for some groups. Article (11) stipulates an “appropriate” representation of women in elected councils. This article is a central one in Basic Components of the Society Part in the Constitution. Consequently, this applies on the Parliament and other councils. As the representation of other groups as workers, Christians, people with disabilities and Egyptians living abroad in the Transitional Provisions Part and thereby, it implies a temporary representation only applicable on the upcoming Parliament.

The following diagram shows the number of members of the House of Representatives according to the law:
chart 1
According to the election law, 20% of the seats are dedicated to party-lists system, and 80% are for individual seats.
chart 2
The legislative environment and women’s representation in 2015 Parliament
The law no. 46/2014 of the House of Representatives allocated 56 seats for women on party lists, in addition to half of the presidential appointees, which counts for around 13 or 14 women. Thus, this guaranteed 70 seats for women in the Parliament, beside individual seats.
This law was as a result of the lobbying efforts of women’s rights civil society organizations and the National Council for Women (NCW) to attain the best representation of women in the Parliament. As there is no exact constitutional article that attains a fair representation of women in Parliament. In Article (5) of the law no. 46/2014 of the House of Representatives states that
“In the first elections of the House of Representatives following the entry into force of this law, each list for which 15 seats are allocated must at least include the following numbers and designations:
Three candidates who are Christian.
Two candidates who are workers or farmers.
Two candidates who are youths.
A candidate who is a person with a disability.
A candidate who is an Egyptian residing abroad.
chart 3
Each list for which 45 seats are allocated must at least include the following numbers and designations:
– Nine candidates who are Christian.
– Nine candidates who are workers or farmers.
– Six candidates who are youths.
– Three candidates who are persons with disabilities.
– Three candidates who are Egyptians residing abroad.
chart 4
Article (27) of the law also stated:
“The President of the Republic may appoint to the House a number of members not exceeding 5% of the number of elected members, half of whom at least shall be Women,..”
Hence, there are at least around 70 seats for women on party lists, thus the representation of women rises from 2% in 2011 Parliament to around 12.5% in 2015 Parliament.
chart 4
1. Two big Constituencies with 45 MPs: which are
chart 5
2. Two small Constituencies representing 15 MPs: which are
chart 6
From the previous presentation, the following results are drawn:
– Christians quota: 24 MPs
– Workers and peasants quota: 16 MPs
– Youth quota: 16 MPs
– People with disabilities quota: 8 MPs
– Egyptians living abroad: 8 MPs
– Women’s quota: 56 MPs
It is worth mentioning that ECWR submitted a proposal to support women running for individual seats to the legal committee to amend the Law on the Regulation of the Exercise of Political Rights in May 2014. This proposal aimed to further women’s participation on individual seats level. The draft law proposed that there would be one seat for women for each individual electoral constituency; there will be two male MPs and 1 female MP.
In addition, the electoral constituencies would have to be re-divided to be relatively larger than the current single-member constituencies in a manner that ensure consistency in the geographical border and the electoral environment, yet it would be bounded by administrative division of each governorate.
This proposal aimed at overcoming the great expenditure problem that female candidates faced and still face in the 2015 Parliamentary elections. The high financial cost constituted a great obstacle for female candidates especially after the administrative court verdict to conduct again the medical checkup. This decision reinforced capital as the driving force this election as it led many individual female candidates to withdraw.
Third: The Nomination Phase for 2015 Parliamentary elections, from a gender perspective
2011 elections progress on the level of electoral process, 2015 elections progress based on results:

In a quick comparison between 2011 elections of The People’s Assembly, the lower house at the time when the Egyptian system was bicameral, and 2015 elections of The House of Representatives; we find that there has been progress in 2011 electoral process yet without achieving results, as for the first the time since 1956 the number of female candidates rose to 984 from a total of 8415 candidates, out of which 351 female candidates on individual seats out of a total of 4847 candidates and 633 female candidates on party lists from a total of 3566 candidates.
Elections 2011 witnessed also progress of the governorates of the “conservative” south and “tribal” border governorates in support of women, reaching the highest nomination of women on the party lists in the governorates of North Sinai and Aswan with the ratio of women on party lists by 28.8%, 28%, followed by the New Valley border governorate by 27%, which is characterized by tribal nature. Luxor came by 25% as well as the governorates of Red Sea, Suez and Ismailia by 25%. It is worth noting that the only elected woman in the Shura Council was from New Valley governorate.
Meanwhile, the Greater Cairo, which includes Cairo, Giza, Qaliubiya, has reached nominations women on the party lists 13% in Cairo governorate and 13% in Giza, and 17.7% in Qaliubiya.
The highest level of women’s nomination in on individual seats was in the following governorates; Port Said and Red Sea governorate by 11%, and South Sinai governorate by 10%, then New Valley governorate by 7% and Giza by 5.6%. The lowest for women’s nomination on the individual seats was Kafr El-Sheikh at 1.5%. While, no woman in Luxor governorate ran for individual seats.
Despite the political circumstances and security issues, it was the highest number of women’s candidacy. In the Parliamentary election of 2010, which was referred to in the media as the “golden opportunity” for women with women’s quota of 64 seats, the number of female candidates has reached 456. In 2005 Parliamentary elections, while there was no women’s quota, there were 133 female candidates.
Nonetheless, despite the high number of women candidates – 984 as mentioned above-, only 9 women secured seats in the Parliament. Out of those 9 women, there were 4 on the Freedom and Justice party list, 3 on Wafd party list, one woman of the Egyptian bloc and women from the Arab Nasserist party resulting in 1.8%.
On the other hand, 2015 Parliamentary elections witnessed progress on the results level in spite of a decline in the number of candidates. This was a result of the women’s quota on party lists as the law of the House of Representatives entailed. This led to an increase in number of women candidates on party lists. The total of female candidates is 652 candidates out of which 276 women are running for individual seats from a total of 5420 candidates representing 5.9%. Meanwhile, 376 women were running on main and back up party-lists, out of 780 candidates representing 58.2%.Thereby, the total number of female candidates is 652 women from a total of 6200 candidate, which is the total number of candidates from both sexes for individual and party seats. Henceforth, women’s participation rate as candidates was 10.03%.

chart 7
Political parties and “forced” nominations of women

There were a number of resignations in political parties during the nomination period for the 2015 Parliamentary elections and its procedures. The latest resignation was of Dr. Mohamed Aboul Gharas head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party socio, which he withdrew later and the resignation of Yahia Qadri, First Deputy Head of the Egyptian National Movement Party, which was also withdrawn later on. Even more, Hala Shukrallah, the first elected woman of a political party, resigned as head of the Constitution party from the presidency of the Party Constitution. Thus, a lot of confusion dominated in the electoral scene having an impact on electoral coalitions.
Regarding political parties’ nomination of women, most political parties settled for women’s quota according to the law of the House of Representatives. All parties did not nominate more woman than the law entails as if it was “forced nomination”. The attitude of parties whether liberal, progressive or Islamist did not vary. Most political parties also refrained from nominating women for individual seats due to the lack of binding legal framework.
According to ECWR statistics, the number of political parties supporting individual candidates is 50 parties.
Meanwhile, there are 23 parties which did not nominate any woman at all for individual seats. The highest nomination rate of women was by Wafd party as the party nominated 9 women out of 149 candidates. The protectors of homeland party followed with 6 women out of a total of 117 candidates.
Meanwhile, the lowest nomination rate of women was by New Egypt party as it nominated only one woman out of 65 candidates. Democratic Generation party followed with nominating one woman out of 5 candidates then the New Liberal Constitutional Party with nominating one woman from a total of 6 candidates.
The following table shows the political parties nominations of women for individual seats.
table no of candidates
table no of candidates2
table no of candidates3
The following graph shows political parties’ nomination of women on individual seats.
chart 8
From the previous figure, we deduce that:
– The total number of political parties supporting individual candidates is 50 parties.
– 23 parties did not nominate any woman. Those parties are:
table
– The political party with the highest number of female candidates was Wafd party with 9 women out of 149 candidates, following by Protectors of the Homeland party with 6 women out of 117 candidates
– The parties with the least numbers of women nomination were
table 1
Concerning women in religiously affiliated parties, AlNour Party attempted to support its claims of being a civil not a religious party by settling on the controversy that the Party’s female candidates can appear in the campaigning or putting a photo of a flower instead as it was in the 2011 elections. The party decided after disagreements that women are permitted to show their faces in the campaigning as for full-face veiled women, the decision is theirs. The party also included Coptic Christian women. These come as part of the party attempts to prove it’s a civil party.
Electoral Coalitions and the struggle to party lists:
Women were affected by the divisions of the electoral coalitions. For instance, after the nomination of many women in lists as Egypt Awakens bloc, and Social justice bloc, the withdrawal of those two lists led to the withdrawal of those women preferring to await the outcome of appeals made by the coalitions on the decisions of the HEC.
Women’s nomination in the electoral coalitions and then the electoral party list was not an easy matter. It could be assumed that the law of House of Representatives that guarantees 56 seats for women would make it easy for women to run for elections. However, those responsible did not seek women, and it did not select competent women to support them, yet, women fought to be on the list. Meanwhile, those responsible preferred to include popular women who are experienced in elections, field work or have capability to bear the financial cost or through tribalism. Most electoral party lists did not seek new women to support them, with the exception of media support. This was echoed by several female candidates to ECWR through phone calls.
Through the monitoring of ECWR’s operating room on women’s nomination on party lists, that the party lists committed to only the minimum number of women stipulated by the law; as the number of female candidates on main lists were 135 out of a total of 285 candidates with a percentage of 47%.
The highest rate of women’s nomination on main party lists was on Egypt Awakens bloc with 51%. Some party lists put more women than set by the quota but on the back up electoral lists not the main ones.
This table shows the percentage and number of women running on the electoral party lists in the 2015 parliamentary elections.
table2
The following table highlights the party lists’ electoral constituencies for the Parliamentary elections 2015.
table3
– According to the table’s data, For the love of Egypt list is the only list running in the four constituencies.
– There are party lists that are running on one constituency only, which are: National Reawakening bloc (Upper Egypt), Republican Alliance of Social Forces (Cairo, South and Middle Nile Delta), Knights of Egypt (West Delta), Independent Current (Cairo) and the call of Egypt (Upper Egypt).
– The highest participation rate on the main electoral list was on the lists of the National Reawakening bloc with 51%.
Women’s nomination on individual seats
This table shows rates of women’s nominations on individual seats in different governorates in the 2015 Parliamentary elections.
Women’s nomination on individual seats
This table shows rates of women’s nominations on individual seats in different governorates in the 2015 Parliamentary elections.
table 4
This figure shows the number of female candidates for individual seats in different governorates.
chart 9
The previous table shows the following:
– South Sinai Governorate had the highest rate for women’s nomination on individual seats, as there were 5 women from a total of 41 candidates, representing 12.1%. it is followed by Alexandria governorate, where there was 37 female candidates out of the total of 389 candidates representing 9.5 %.
– The lowest rate of women’s nomination on individual seats was in North Sinai and New Valley governorates. There was only one female candidate in North Sinai among 33 candidates representing 3.0%, and one female candidate in New Valley governorate out of a total of 40 candidates representing 2.5%.
– In Luxor governorate, there were no female candidates running for individual seats.
In addition, there were some constituencies in different governorates where there were no women running for individual seats:
-Cairo Governorate:
(Dawayir El Marg – Haday’ek El Quba)
– QaliubiyaGovernorate:
(DawayirKanaet El Khairiya – Shoben El Anater – KafrShukr – Markiz and Qaliubcity)
– MenofiaGovernorate:
(SawayirBajaur circle – Tala W al shohdaa, Menouf City –Markzenof)
– MinyaGovernorate:
(Dawayir Abu Qarqas – BaniMazarWaMatay – DayrMawas – MaghaghatWaEl’Udwat – Malawy)
– New Valley Governorate:
(Da’iraDakhla Oasis)
– Beni SuefGovernorate:
(El fashnDawayr – Wasta – Ahnasia – Samasta – Nasser)
– Damietta Governorate:
(DawayrFaraskourWZarqa)
– Sohag Governorate:
(Akhmeem constituencies – El-Baleena – El-Asrat – El-Maragha- El-Monshah- Guhayna- Dar El-Salam- Sakltoh – Tama – Tahta).
– North Sinai Governorate:
(Baar El-Abd&Romana constituencies – El-Areesh – Centeral Sinai)
– Qena Governorate:
(Deshna&Wakf constituencies – Farshot – Qena center & city – Nagaa Hamady – Nakdah)
– Kafr El-Sheikh Governorate:
(El-Borlous constituencies – El-Hamool&Bela – El-Ryad – Sedy Salem – Kafr El-Sheikh – Kafr El-Sheikh city)
– MarsaMatouh Governorate:
(El-Hamam constituency)
– Aswan Governorate:
(Draw constituency – Kom Ambo – Nasr El-Noba)
– Assiut Governorate:
(Assiutconstituency – El-Badry&Sleem coast – El-Kosyah – Deroot – Manflot)
– Luxor Governorate:
(No women)
– Ismailia Governorate:
(El-Tal El-Kabeer– El-Kantrah)
– Red Sea Governorate:
(Safaga&El-Kaseer – Shalateen)
– Beheira Governorate:
(Abo Homos &Edko constituency – El-Delngat – El-Mahmoudia&Rahmanyah – Eyaty El-Barod&Shobrakheet – Bdr&Wadi El-Natroun – Kom Hamada)
– Giza Governorate:
(Atfeeh constituency – El-Saf – El-Ayat – El-Haram – Bolak El-Dakror – Kerdasah)
– Dakahlia Governorate:
(El-Manzlah&Mataryah – Talkha&Nebrwah)
– Sharqia Governorate:
(Abo Kabeer – Hehya&Elbrahemya – El-Hesenyah)
– Gharbia Governorate:
(Zefta – Smanod)
– Fayoum Governorate:
(Fayoum constituency – Tamyah – Snorous)
Fourth:Voting & Results Round
Parliamentary elections took place over two phases. The first phase was held on 18th& 19th of October 2015 and the run-offs took place on 27th& 28th of October 28 2015. This phase covered the following 14 governorates:
“Giza, Fayoum, BeniSuef, Minya, Assyut, New Valley, Sohag, Qena, Luxor, Aswan, Red Sea, Alexandria, Beheira, and Matrouh”.
Total number of women running on the individual candidates’ seats is 104 out of 2130, amounting to 4.8%. On the other hand, 100 female candidates were on the electoral lists which are; Noor Party list, For the Love of Egypt list in west Delta, National & Independent Awakening Block list, For the Love of Egypt, Egypt Call List, and Egyptian Front Coalition & Independence Current in Upper Egypt sector.
Eleven women were part of the run-offs out of 444 candidates competing over 222 seats in the first stage governorates, amounting to 2.7%. 9 of these candidates were independent and one was representing the Nasserist Party and the other representing the Conference Party.
chart 10
Results of the first phase of the parliamentary elections:
In the first phase, 21 women won on Forthe Love of Egypt list in Giza and in north and south Upper Egypt, which included 45 seats. This comes as the highest percentage of votes reaching 55%.
Seven women also won on In the Love for Egypt list in West Delta, which included 15 seats. This list received the highest percentage of votes that reached 60%. For this the total number of winning women on the list is 28 amounting to 45%.
chart 11
Five women won on the individual seats, three of them are independent, and one representing the Nasserist Party and the other representing the Conference Party.
chart 12
chart 13
The second elections stage took place on the 22ndand 23rd November 2015in the 14 following governorates; Cairo, Qaliubiya, Dakahlia, Monufia, Gharbia, Kafr El-Sheikh, Sharqia, Damietta, Port Said, Ismailia, Suez, North Sinai, and South Sinai”.
169 women out of 2896 candidates were competing over the individual seats in the second elections stage, amounting to 5.8%. 91 female candidates out of 195 were competing on the electoral lists level, amounting to 46.6%.
For the first time 18 women have made it the run-offs as they have competed fiercely over the parliament seats in spite of their lack of financial resources in comparison to their male competitors.
Deferred constituencies:
The Administrative Court issued a ruling invalidity the elections for the individual seats in the following four constituencies in the first elections stage;
– Wasta Constituency in BeniSuef Governorate
– BeniSuefCity Constituencyin BeniSuef Governorate
– Raml First Constituency in Alexandria Governorate
– Damanhour City Constituency in Beheira Governorate
Elections were held in the above-mentioned constituencies on the 6th and 7th of December 2015. Two women won in these constituencies; ElhamEl- Minshawiin RamlAwal Constituency in Alexandria Governorate and Sanaa Barghashin the city of Damanhour Constituency in Beheira Governorate.
Female candidates ranking with regards to votes
2015 parliamentary elections have witnessed a boom in terms of the number of women reaching the run-offs on individual seats. This comes in spite of the difficultyof running on the individual seats for the financial burden and the reliance on family and tribal ties that all resulted in huge effort for female candidates to exert. However, 29 female candidates managed to get high rankings with regard to the number of votes in the run-offs for the first time in the history of women’s political participation. This comes in addition to the large number of female candidates who won large number of votes, making them reach high rankings among the candidates lists, as the third and fourth. However these candidates did not make it to the parliament due to the limited number of constituencies’ seats.
This refers to the change in the societal culture that was not allowing many women before to join the parliament, with a percentage more than 2 to 5.2% on the individual seats level and around 14.9% on the level of individual seats and electoral lists.
The following table shows the percentages votes for female winners on the individual seats;
table 5
table 6
It is clear from the above table that 7 out of the 19 female winners on the individual seats in the first phase have ranked the first in terms of the number of their voters. Another 7 have ranked the second, 4 have ranked the third, and one ranked the fourth.
chart 14
The following table shows examples for the number of votes for some of the female candidates who did not win in the elections
table7
Important indicators for 2015 parliamentary elections results
The final results for all the stages of the electoral process indicated the presence of 89 female MP, 75 are elected MPs and 14 are appointed, out of a total of 596 MP, amounting to 14.7%. With these numbers, 2015 parliament comes as the largest in the Egyptian parliamentary life in terms of female representation.
chart 15
In spite of how the individual electoral system was not fair to women, women for the first time were able to secure a large number of individual seats for the first time.
The parliamentary elections results are unique. It is difficult for women to go through the parliamentary experience given tribal fanaticism, the control of political money control, financial inability, and most of the parties nominated a limited number of women on their electoral lists and none on the individual seats. However the elections results came as a surprise with the victory of 19 women on the individual seats.
This is an unprecedented figure in the Egyptian parliamentary elections history. Through a review on the recent history, no woman won on the individual seats in 2011 elections while 64 women won in 2010 Parliament competing over the quota seats in addition to one appointed woman. It has to be taken into consideration that the competition over the quota seats allocated for women is different from traditional competition on public individual seats. This means that in 2010 Parliament no woman was able to win seats in the framework of competing over the individual general seats.
The difference between the electoral systems that regulated the last three elections has to be taken into account. The electoral system in 2011 is the proportional list system. This system was very counterproductive for women as it required the presence of a minimum of one woman on the list without ensuring an advanced place for her on the list. This has led the political parties to put women at the bottom of their electoral lists which hindered women from wining, unlike the current electoral lists system.
On the other hand, the electoral system in 2010 elections was the individual system. 64 seats were allocated for women to compete over, apart from the public individual seats.
For this reason the fact 29 candidates making it for the first time to the run-offs on the individual seats in 2015 parliamentary elections is considered as a major shift for Egyptian women. This happens without a law guaranteeing her presence on the individual seats.
This also draws the attention to a changing trend in the votes for women indicating a change in the societal culture towards women. For many years, both male and female voters were reluctant to vote for women as if they are not rational enough to bear the responsibility and duties of the parliament member. This has been clear as many of the female candidates who did not win had made it to advanced rankings with respect to the number of votes they gained, coming in the third, fourth and fifth place.
One of the possible reasons for this change is the contribution of women in the community and political movement that started with the January revolution 2011. Woman was the revolution icon and the change drive starting from cheering in Tahrir Square to overthrowing the regime down to women’s participation in all the elector benefits that Egypt has been going through since the outbreak of the January revolution.
Indicators on women’s participation in 2015 elections in 2015 and their ability to secure a number of individual seats:
• Woman’s superiority over man in the field work and her ferocity in competition through their work among the people and their eagerness to build their capacities.
• Women’s access to a leading position in the votes reaching the third and fourth place.
• Women voting for women.
• The emergence of new and young female candidates and their success in reaching the run-offs.
• The beginning of a societal change towards woman through accepting her as a chief abandoning the idea of women as inefficient, this resulted in more votes for women.
• The success of the civil society efforts in women’s technical support and capacity-building till they became eligible to compete.
The electoral process also unveiled phenomena that have not been seen in elections before, as well as inspiring experiences for the female candidates. One of the phenomena witnessed in 2015 elections is women’s persistence to run for elections competing against their family members, and even beat them. In Helwan Constituency, Manal Khalifa won over her father AliHassanein, a former member of the dissolved National Democratic Party, in the first elections stage, reaching the run-offs.
On the other hand, “Nosilah Ismail Ahmed” was competing over the individual seat for Faqous Constituency in Sharqia Governorate. Nosailah was competing with her brother, a retired officer engineer Osama Ismail Ahmed Sweilem, Wafd Party candidate. Nosailah managed to gainer more votes than her brother and the two along with four other male candidates, representing Free Egyptians Party, Nation Future Party, and The Revolution Guardians Party, reached the run-offs. The elections ended with the Nosaila’s victory.
As for the inspiring experiences, some candidates did not rely on money in their electoral campaigns. However they relied more on their efforts and work in their communities. “Abeer”, a young journalist in Minya El-Kamh Constituency in Sharqia Governorate was able to reach the run-offs in the second elections stage. She challenged the tribal beliefs of the Egyptian rural areas and defeated the masters of political money. Abeer adopted in the door to door strategy in her campaign through introducing herself to the public of her constituency explaining her program.
Recommendations
• The state has to work on supporting and empowering women through the enactment of legislation to improve their participation in politics and the electoral process in particular.
• The political parties have to work on supporting and building female cadres capable of running for elections and do not rely solely on nominating women on their electoral lists only to abide by the law.
• The High Elections Committee (HEC) should develop date on the gender of the candidates; the candidates’ pictures must also be present next to their names as there are many names that do not reveal the sex of the candidate constituting a difficulty in the monitoring process.
• Newspapers should focus more on women’s issues related to the elections instead focusing on trivial news.
• The need for paying attention to women throughout the year and not only at elections times.

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