Former governor: Islamists likely to dominate governorates, local councils

Islamists will dominate at least 60 percent of local government posts, former Sharqiya Governor Azzazy Ali Azzazy told Egypt Independent.

Azzazy said consultations are being made between the Morsy administration and the Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Bureau to reach an agreement on the first reshuffle of governors under President Mohamed Morsy.

“Islamists, led by the Muslim Brotherhood, are primarily taking part in the selection of new governors known to be loyal to the group,” Azzazy said.

Azzazy, a Nasserist political activist, had resigned from his post in June, days after Morsy was declared winner of the presidential election. He said he refuses to work under a Brotherhood platform.

Meanwhile, Mahmoud Hussein, secretary general of the Brotherhood and a member of its Guidance Bureau, told Egypt Independent that speculations around an Islamist takeover of local governments are “baseless allegations.” He argued that the selection of governors is up to the president and the prime minister, and has nothing to do with the Guidance Bureau.

Egypt has 27 governorates and they are mostly headed by retired army and police leaders, an appointment tradition in place since the early 1990s.

The local government system consists of two branches. First are governors, who are selected by both the president of the republic and the prime minister. Governors select chairmen of municipal councils. Ministries, meanwhile, appoint the heads of their departments in each governorate.

The second branch is the popular councils that are elected by residents to monitor the performance of the governors. In July 2011, five months after the breakout of the 25 January revolution, the Administrative Court disbanded those councils, which had been dominated by the formerly ruling National Democratic Party through unfair elections, thus marking a victory for activists who had called for their dissolution.

Azzazy said Islamists also intend to seize a large number of seats in the popular councils, elections for which would be held following the introduction of the country’s new constitution, which is predicted to be ready in October.

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