West tells Sisi: No aid without elections
The government of Egypt is in a complete state of confusion because of unofficial pressure from Europe and the United States to confirm dates for parliamentary elections, it has emerged.
Government sources told al-Araby al-Jadeed that foreign states and economic organisations are threatening to shun an economic conference planned for March 2015, unless they receive assurances that an elected parliament will be in place to manage aid and investment.
The same source also said that Gulf states were "relaxed" about the formation of any new parliament. Saudi Arabia and UAE, both significant donors to Egypt, are said not to be worried that the conference has already been postponed from its original February date.
|Sisi will not adopt a political beneficiary or be associated with one political party.|
Sisi facing problems
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi faces problems securing the political alliances necessary to dominate any future parliament.
This is of particular concern to the president because the constitutional powers of the new parliament will be greater than any recent Egyptian parliamentary body.
Al-Araby al-Jadeed has learned that former presidential candidate Amr Moussa and former Prime Minister Kamal El Ganzouri each sent a report to Sisi concerning their failure to form a united electoral list.
Moussa recommended that the elections be held as soon as possible, saying that a delay would play into the hands of Islamist sympathisers. Openly Islamist groups are only eligible ot stand for 22.5 percent of seats.
Meanwhile, the Free Egyptians Party, the National Congress Party, and al-Wafd have all requested meetings with Sisi, to present their proposals regarding the next parliament. They will portray themselves as parties capable of securing a reliable plurality.
But Sisi has reportedly stressed to the parties concerned that he will not adopt a political beneficiary or be associated with one political party. He also said that he would not meet with "civil" secular parties unless they reach agreement on one or two lists that guarantee a non-Islamist majority.
|The defence and interior ministries have reportedly recommended postponing elections.|
Sisi is understood to be troubled by warnings from the ministries of defence and interior, that to hold the elections soon would create security problems impossible to contain.
The Muslim Brotherhood is calling for widespread demonstrations on 28 November, and the anniversary of the 25 January revolution is likely to spark mass protests.
The defence and interior ministries have reportedly recommended postponing elections until after military action in Sinai is resolved. They do not wish to spread their resources too thinly during an election season that could last two months.
Sisi has authorised his two new security advisers, Ahmed Gamal al-Din and Faiza Abou al-Naga, to investigate whether to hold the elections as soon as possible, or much later.
It remains unlikely that election dates will be set before the March economic conference, although Sisi has previously stated that elections would be held before the end of 2014.
This article is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.