Political parties’ members and legal experts call for unconditioned proportional list

July 12th, 2011 by Editor

In the framework of the roundtable discussion, held by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR) under the title “Draft Law for People’s Assembly and Shura Councils: A Step Backwards” on Monday, July 11, 2011, at the organization’s headquarters, Egyptian Political parties’ members and legal experts agreed on applying the unconditioned electoral proportional list and opening the door for forming new political parties. The experts also called for accurate definition to the words “farmer” and “laborer”. Some of the participants called for cancelation of Shura council and others stated that it is such a specialized council and its roles are very significant.

Mr. Hafez Abu Seada, the head of (EOHR) stated that the draft law included the closed proportional list and the individual candidate system with 50% laborers and farmers in all the electoral districts.  The women candidates should come in the first part of the electoral list. The People’s Assembly’s seats will be 500, (250 for individual candidates and 250 for the electoral list. 50% of the seats, at least, will be for farmers and laborers. The candidacy age will be 25. Shura council will include 390 members. The political participation law has been modified to comply with the new draft law of the parliament.

Abu Seada confirmed that the new parliamentary draft law could not gain agreement of all the Egyptian political powers. It does not even reflect the revolutionary attitude because of retaining a representative of the Ministry of Interior in the committee that screens the candidacy applications. Another representative also is retained in the objection screening committee and that means giving the power to the Ministry of Interior to control the electoral process. Retaining the individual candidate system beside the list opens the door for thuggish acts during the electoral process and that naturally threatens the democratic transformation in Egypt.

Mr. Hussein Abdel Razeq, the former secretary general of Al Tagamoa Political party added that the draft law is refused by all the Egyptian political powers, but it also includes some positive points. The draft law gives the Court of Cassation the power to decide on the membership validity, but it does not define the words farmer and laborer. Only few states have the electoral system of list and individual candidate together. Mr. Hussein also refused allocating parliamentary seats for women, because they will be all occupied by those women supported by the government.

Mr. Abdel Hamid Barakat, deputy of the head of the Labor Political Party, criticized the prime minister for not having open discussion with the public and the political powers on the new draft law. He emphasized that all the political parties agree on the electoral list and many of them will boycott the elections if it will be allocating 50% for the list and 50% for individual candidates.

Dr. Salah Abdallah, former parliamentary member, stated that the issued draft law reflects the separation of people and government in Egypt. People went on revolution calling for freedom, and then suddenly the government came with new laws retaining the vision of Mubarak regime. The individual candidate system will give enough space for the thuggish acts and money to control the electoral process.

Dr. Mahmoud Yaser Ramadan, deputy of the head of Al Ahrar Political Party refused having both list and individual candidates in the same electoral system and called for retaining only the proportional list.

Dr. Wahed Imam, the founder of the Egyptian Political Party for Sustainable Development, emphasized on providing full-definition to the words farmer and laborer in order to guarantee filling these places with only those categories.  He refused the individual candidate system that creates many challenges and obstacles to the democratic transformation in Egypt.

The discussion was concluded with some recommendations:

Applying the unconditioned electoral proportional list system in the parliamentary elections to select 450 members. The country will be divided to 74 electoral districts. A list can include a political party or more and can also include independent candidates

Freedom of forming new political parties and a new political party can exist after only informing the concerned authorities as long as it does not have any discrimination principals or military troops or being a branch of a foreign political party. All the other restrictions must be cancelled.

Giving full-definition to the words “farmer and laborer”, in order to prevent the police and army officers, judges, professors and businessmen from occupying the farmers and laborers’ seats in the parliament.



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