Egypt: new kids on the block

The People’s Assembly discusses today a legislative amendment to prevent Mubarak era cronies from contesting Egypt’s highest office – Published on Al-Ahram weekly online, by Gamal Essam El-Din, 12 – 18 April 2012.

… The first proposal was submitted by the FJP’s spokesman Hussein Ibrahim. “Amending the 1956 law on the exercise of political rights is necessary to prevent Mubarak’s close aides and former NDP leaders — such as members of the NDP’s politburo, secretariat-general and the Policies Committee which was led by Mubarak’s son Gamal — from contesting the presidential elections,” Ibrahim said.  

Ibrahim’s proposal was approved by the majority of members at the People’s Assembly. However, El-Katatni decided to put all the proposals before the Proposals and Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee. The proposed amendments will be discussed before a plenary session of the assembly today at 12.30pm.

Essam Sultan, the parliamentary spokesman of the Islamist Wasat Party, said he would give up his proposed amendments to the 2011 law on prohibiting corrupt officials from standing in elections in favour of the FJP’s law on amending the political rights law.

The amendments proposed by Sultan were rejected by the majority of deputies who said they were tailored to prevent a certain figure from standing in elections and could be ruled as unconstitutional.

The People’s Assembly set aside an afternoon session yesterday to debate a draft law seeking to prevent close associates of ousted president Hosni Mubarak from competing in elections. The Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee had approved the draft with surprising speed leading to concerns that the law, proposed by Wasat spokesman Essam Sultan, may not have been thoroughly scrutinised and as a result could be unconstitutional.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Mohamed Attia has already indicated the draft, which for a decade bars anyone who occupied a “leading position” in either the National Democratic Party or the office of the president during the 10 years prior to 11 February 2011, from becoming president, vice president or prime minister, could contradict Article 26 of the constitutional declaration.

Addressing the assembly on Sunday Sultan made it clear that it was Mubarak’s spy chief Omar Suleiman’s bid for the presidency that the law hoped to curtail. The 25 January Revolution targeted the existing political system, he said, “and it would be illogical to allow figures who were central to that corrupt regime to stand in future presidential elections”.

The draft received cursory discussion at the Proposals and Complaints Committee on Monday morning and was referred to the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee on the same day. By Tuesday morning, despite concerns over the constitutionality of the proposed legislation raised by the minister of justice and by independent members, the draft was rubber stamped by the committee … (full text).

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