- Title: EGYPT: Women keen to make political history
- Date: 26th November 2010
- Summary: FAYOUM, EGYPT (NOVEMBER 20, 2010) (REUTERS) MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD CANDIDATE, NAGWA GOUDA WEARING BEIGE SCARF LEADING ELECTION RALLY MORE OF PROCESSION AND PEOPLE CARRYING ELECTION POSTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD CANDIDATE, NAGWA GOUDA, SAYING: ''If justice was implemented Egypt would go back to how it was. Egypt would be powerful, and it would be the mother of the world, just how we used to describe it. Egypt is really behind now in its role. Before, years ago, we would say that every Arab country that had internal problems would come to Sharm el Sheikh and make amends. But now unfortunately it's a disaster.'' MORE OF RALLY CAIRO, EGYPT (NOVEMBER 24, 2010) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY HEADQUARTERS SIGN READING 'NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY HEADQUARTERS' SECRETARY-GENERAL OF NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY, MOHAMED SAFWAT EL-SHERIF, TAKING HIS SEAT (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC PARTY, MOHAMED SAFWAT EL-SHERIF, SAYING: ''I don't see that the experience is very successful from the start, and the women have been very 'ferocious' in seeking candidacy, and holding on strongly to their right, leading the elections and the electoral campaign very hard. The Egyptian women will support the female candidates and I think in ten years she will prove the capacity of the Egyptian woman to run for elections equally with men.'' EL-SHERIF SPEAKING TO HIS SECRETARY
- Embargoed: 10th December 2010 20:19
- Location: Egypt
- Country: Egypt
- Topics: Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA6TMO32MII92FUR2U2GPLAZT9D
- Aspect Ratio: 4:3
- Story Text: As Egyptians gear up to head to the polls on Sunday (November 28) female candidates want their voices to be heard.
For the first time, 63 seats in the country's parliament will be for women, a step welcomed by many in the country.
"At the moment the Egyptian woman should be happy. Yes of course, I know there'll be all sorts of difficulties in applying this law, but it's an achievement and an important step. It will give us a tremendous amount of responsibility yes. We will have a lot of responsibility because there is a wide circle and lots of demands, and our presence needs to be organised. But this is a very important step that we should take part in,'' said Madiha Khatab a candidate from Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party.
The new law has boosted the number of seats available to women, increasing the total number of seats from 454 to 518. This move has granted women 12-percent of seats up from the 2-percent won five years ago.
Al-Wafd party candidate, Mona Makram Ebeid was one of the women attending a meeting at the National Council for Women in Cairo. She welcomed the political step saying she hoped it would encourage Egyptians to head to the polls, ''Of course this has a big impact, especially for the president himself to say it, as it will have an effect on the voters and the candidates. We hope that these words will encourage the voters to go on election day and make their voices heard. We know that here there is a great lack of interest amongst the voters and that goes back to the lack of credibility in the voting system,'' said Ebeid.
But not everyone sees the new quota as a positive step. Critics say it's just another way for the country's 82 year old president, Hosni Mubarak, to gain support.
The new law was passed last year and the government sees it as a way to boost female representation in the People's Assembly.
In Fayoum, female candidate from Egypt's Islamist party Nagwa Gouda held an election rally for her supporters.
Addressing a crowd she said she wanted Egypt to return to its glory days, ''If justice was implemented Egypt would go back to how it was. Egypt would be powerful, and it would be the mother of the world, just how we used to describe it. Egypt is really behind now in its role. Before, years ago, we would say that every Arab country that had internal problems would come to Sharm el Sheikh and make amends. But now unfortunately it's a disaster,'' said Gouda.
The election preparations have been marred by clampdowns on opposition groups and scuffles in the streets, especially involving those from the Muslim Brotherhood.
As Egypt's largest opposition group they have no illusions about the poll's outcome, especially at a time when a leading member of Egypt's ruling party said in an interview that the constitution would not be changed before the 2011 presidential election, quashing opposition calls for reforms it sees as crucial to a fair vote.
Safwat el-Sherif, secretary-general of President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP), also dismissed opposition accusations of vote manipulation by the government made before a parliamentary election this Sunday.
He is also critical of the female candidates' approach, but said he is hopeful that eventually women will be equal political candidates alongside men.
''I don't see that the experience is very successful from the start, and the women have been very 'ferocious' in seeking candidacy, and holding on strongly to their right, leading the elections and the electoral campaign very hard. The Egyptian women will support the female candidates and I think the ten years she will prove the capacity of the Egyptian woman to run for elections equally with men,'' said el-Sherif.
President Hosni Mubarak's party is expected to sweep the parliamentary vote, which the opposition says has already been rigged against them. Critics say that rules for next year's presidential election also guarantee the ruling party wins.
No date has been set for the presidency vote, but Mubarak's term expires later next year.
Mubarak has been in power since 1981, and has not said if he will seek re-election in 2011, although officials have indicated he is likely to run if he is able.
Many Egyptians believe the president will try to hand power to his son Gamal, 46, if he backs out.
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