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Egypt’s 2015 Parliamentarians, New Faces – Old Logic

Policy Alternatives
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The 2015 parliamentary elections in Egypt, the first since the adoption of the 2014 Constitution, brought a number of new political groups to the fore. Although boycotted by the disbanded Muslim Brotherhood and the majority of groups opposed to the current regime, most political entities close to the state did indeed take part, either as part of coalition lists such as the Fi Hob Misr (For the Love of Egypt) or as separate parties like Mustaqbal Watan (Future of the Nation), whose main cadres were once members of the defunct National Democratic Party (NDP). Other new parties founded after the January 25 revolution also took part, including the Free Egyptians Party, backed by billionaire Naguib Sawiris and winner of the largest number of seats in parliament. 
 
The elections, scheduled initially to start in March 2015, were postponed for several months due to challenges to the candidates’ required medical exams, and to the law on demarcation of constituencies, which met with fierce opposition even from parties that participated in the elections. Eventually taking place over two stages between 17 October 2015 and 4 December 4 2015, the elections were held amidst a wave of boycotts and popular abstentions, earning the management of the process severe criticism even by supporters of the current regime.  
 
In the wake of the elections, much discussion of the “seriousness” of the new parliament has taken place, given the average age of its members and the fact that it has the highest representation of Copts and women since 1952. In this context, delving deeper into the biography of some of the new faces, including independents, party members and members of the old regime, proves illuminating.
 
Author's Introduction 
 
Photo: European Pressphoto Agency (epa)