The Elections of Local Councils ……. The Egyptian Organizations’ comment

April 9th, 2008 by EOHR

On Tuesday 8/4/2008 the elections of local councils were held in 26 governorates . There were 57000 candidates including 52000 candidates belong to the National Democratic Party (NDP) upon  a few opposition and independent  parties competed for 52000 seats .

The Egyptian organization for human rights doesn’t monitor the process of elections due to the following reasons :

1- The absence of absolute judicial monitoring on the elections as it is considered a guarantee for honest and free elections . This absence will lead to the manipulation of citizens and suspect the uprightness of the elections and   public referendums.

2- The absence of competitiveness in the electoral process, since elections were held amid the boycott of political and opposition forces and significant representation of the National Democratic Party. So the result was decided before the beginning of electoral process .

It is noteworthy that the electoral structure of local council  hasn’t changed since the last election dated 2002  as  NDP won  over 97 % of the total seats .

3- The continuity of working with Law No.43 of 1979 ( Local Administrative law )  which submitted the local councils to series of  administrative guardianship .These councils submit to the following  :-

People’s Assembly and Shura Council:
Members of People’s Assembly and Shura Council  enjoy the right to attend local councils sessions in their electoral  constituencies and have the right to participate in the discussion and submit  suggestions and questions ( Articles 24-102) .
Article 129 of the law stipulated that “ Local administration units are not allowed to ratify any loan or join  any project not included in the budget after taking the approval from people’s assembly “.

The Council of Ministers and the premier :
1. The local council is dissolved by  the Cabinet with a  reasonable  decision (Article 145).
2. The Regulation of law is issued by  the Prime Minister (Article 5 of released articles ).

3. Governors are directly responsible  before  the Prime Minister when practicing their  competences (Article 133).

4. The Supreme Council for the local administration is head by the Council of Ministers (article 5).

5. Cabinet has a right to  cancel  the decisions of governorates taken by  the local councils if the governor has an objection on these decisions (Article 132).

6. Cities and villages are determined  by the Council of Ministers (Article 1).
7. The Council of Ministers controls and evaluates  the  work and  performance of governorates  (Article 133).

8. Prime Minister has a right  to appoint secretaries general and assistant secretaries and heads of villages  and cities and he has a right to dismiss them from their positions  (Article 139).

9. Cabinet’s approval  is required for accepting  donations and grants from foreign bodies or persons (Article 29).

The Supreme Council for the Local Administration and the supervisor minister :

The law No.43  transferred the guardianship and monitoring authority of local councils to The Supreme Council for the Local Administration ,and the competent  minister is a member of the mentioned council which is formed by the cabinet , the competent minister ,governors and heads of local councils. The council is held by its chairman .

The Supreme Council for the Local Administration  considers all what related to the system of local administration in the terms of its support and development , suggested laws and decisions ( Article 5 ).

And the competent  minister has the authority to annul the decisions of  local councils  – except the local council of the governorate- rejected by the local council of the governorate and his decision of this concern is final ( Article 132 ) . Also the competent minister is receiving the periodical reports from governors concerning different activities and he resubmits  them to the cabinet ( Article 29 )

Other constraints that face the local councils are the weakness of its monitoring tools , as these councils don’t have the right to question officials at the local level .

4- The reluctance of citizens to participate in the electoral process, although such participation is one of the pillars on which democracy stands, citizens’ reluctance have been found in the parliamentary and presidential elections as well as the recent local councils elections .

The expectations of the Egyptian Organization came in the right place , EOHR follows up the election process through its members in the governorates and it found several key observations as follows : –

• National Party obtained  more than tow-thirds of  seats by uncontested manner   , as the number of obtained seats was 44 000 seat.

• Several decisions were issued by the administrative judiciary courts to stop election in some constituencies due to hundreds of appeals (approximately  3480 appeals ) submitted to the administrative courts in the Egyptian governorates .

• The  abstention of citizens to  deal with  political participation which doesn’t exceed 2% on the republic level .So participation should be activated through intensifying political awareness programs  for citizens either through preparing workshops ,seminars, or TV programs .

In this concern, the Egyptian Organization for human rights recommends the following  :-

    1. The necessary for activating political and partisan life in Egypt .
    2. The need for  supporting full judicial oversight over elections and public referendum .
    3. The necessary for enacting a new law for local administration which allows to support  decentralization of regime .This decentralization should be integrated and comprehensive . It shouldn’t be treated as a transfer of responsibilities  ,and it is not for giving local  councils more powers  without creating the proper environment which encourages citizens to participate and choose people who have the ability to take responsibility for their constituents .Above all, it is a political will and a personal conviction.
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This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 at 5:16 am and is filed under Statements. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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