The Cairo Appeals Court for Urgent Matters overturned on 14 July the ruling that banned the leaders of former President Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP) to participate in politics. They were then prevented from participating in the upcoming parliamentary elections which procedures will start by 18 July. The party had been dissolved by the Supreme Administrative Court after Hosni Mubarak, chairman of the party since 1981, was toppled in 2011.
Strong comeback expected
On 6 May, the NDP had been banned from running in the parliamentary and presidential elections by the Cairo Urgent Matters Court, which condemned the party for favouring “corruption” and endangering Egypt through “contradictory laws”. The party had also been banned in the 2012 Constitution, drafted by an Islamist-dominated committee under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi. After his ouster, the Constitution was modified and the article scrapped.
As a result of the appeal filed by former members of the NDP, including pro-military businessman Tawfik Okasha, such incriminations were abandoned by the new decision of the Cairo Appeals Court for Urgent Matters yesterday. It underlined that leaders’ right to political participation had been violated by the previous verdict and that the lower court had no jurisdiction to bar people from running for elections.
Benefiting from large family and tribal networks, NDP leaders who had formed new parties or joined existing ones, are expected to obtain a large share of the votes in the parliamentary elections that will take place before the end of the year. In addition, the election law passed a few days after Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi was elected President in early June has increased the power of individual candidates over party lists. Out of the 567 parliament members, 420 should be elected as independents and 120 from party lists. Another 27 seats will be appointed by the head of state. The former ruling party figures as well as local notables should thus be advantaged in the coming elections, raising protests from the opposition. Six liberal and leftist parties signed a statement last week that underlined that "the current electoral system is biased in favour of the rich in society, lawmakers with tribal and traditional associations in rural Egypt and businessmen," while weakening the country’s late democratisation process by marginalizing the multiparty system. Islamist Al-Nour Party leader Sheikh Sameh Abdel-Hamid declared that “A parliament with 80 percent for single candidates means it will be a Parliament for Mubarak’s men”.
Upcoming parliamentary elections
The upcoming parliamentary elections will be the country’s first vote since the dissolution of the Islamist-dominated legislature by the Supreme Constitutional Court in June 2012. They will take place in a context where Muslim Brotherhood leaders keep on being imprisoned after the organisation was declared a terrorist one. On 15 April the Alexandria Urgent Matters Court further banned any of its member from running in the coming elections. The election of Marshall al-Sissi as President in May was criticised by observers as a manifestation of the country’s stagnation rather than progress. Indeed, the current President is the one who deposed Mohammed Morsi last year, while Ibrahim Mahlab, the current Prime Minister is himself a former cadre of the NDP. The elections promise to have large impacts on Egypt politics.
Author : Laura Gounon