Egypt: Mubarak party leaders can run for elections

Egypt: Mubarak party leaders can run for elections

Posted: Updated:

CAIRO (AP) - An Egyptian appeals court ruled Monday that leaders of the former ruling party of ousted President Hosni Mubarak will not be barred from running for elections, opening the door for old regime figures to return to the country's stifled political scene.

The decision by the Cairo Appeals Court for Urgent Matters overturns an earlier ruling that banned leaders of Mubarak's National Democratic Party from taking part in any elections.

The party was dissolved following the uprising that toppled Mubarak in 2011. A number of the party leaders formed new parties, while others joined existing ones. In 2012, an Islamist-dominated committee drafting the country's new constitution pushed an article in the charter that bars the NDP leaders from taking part in political life for 10 years. Following the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, the article was scrapped when amendments were made to the charter.

The appeals court said Monday the lower court had no jurisdiction to bar people from running for elections. At the time, the lower court didn't define what constituted being a party leader.

Observers are predicting former NDP members will make a strong comeback in parliamentary elections expected later this year, because they still have strong family and tribal networks and a tight system of patronage developed during the Mubarak years.

The country's other most powerful political force, the Muslim Brotherhood, was declared a terrorist organization by the government. The Brotherhood's political party is facing litigation calling for its dissolution. Security forces also went after the group's leaders, imprisoning thousands of its members and accusing it of waging a violent campaign against the government.

The Brotherhood denies it adopts violence and is keeping up protests against the government, accusing it of orchestrating a coup.

Mohammed Mahsoub, a leader of the Islamist party al-Wasat and a member of the Brotherhood-led coalition, wrote on his Twitter account that the return of the Mubarak party leaders to politics "is a restoration of the unjust and corrupt state."

Newly formed liberal parties have made only limited inroads on the political scene, failing to galvanize popular support or form alliances that can challenge the two traditional powerhouses.

Furthermore, a newly passed election law favors candidates running as individuals, not on party lists, giving former ruling party figures and local notables an advantage in the coming elections. The new election law states that 420 seats of the nearly 600-member parliament will be elected as independents, with 120 chosen from party lists.

Liberal and newly formed parties are campaigning against the law, demanding a greater proportion be chosen from party lists.

"The current electoral system is biased in favor of the rich in society, lawmakers with tribal and traditional associations in rural Egypt and businessmen," said a statement last week signed by six liberal and leftist parties and a number of public figures.

The law "marginalizes the multiparty system in Egypt because it promotes personal traits of individual candidate at the expense of political affiliation, thus impeding the country's democratic transformation," it said.

The parties said they have not received any response for the calls from the president, who currently holds legislative powers.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Egypt in turmoilMore>>

  • In Gaza war, Egypt taking hard line over border

    In Gaza war, Egypt taking hard line over border

    Thursday, July 24 2014 6:14 PM EDT2014-07-24 22:14:37 GMT
    In the Gaza war now in its third bloody week, Hamas' battle isn't only with Israel, even though that's the country it is firing rockets at. The militant group that rules Gaza is demanding Egypt open its...More >>
    In the Gaza war now in its third bloody week, Hamas' battle isn't only with Israel, even though that's the country it is firing rockets at. The militant group that rules Gaza is demanding Egypt open its border...More >>
  • Egypt judge: Al-Jazeera team did "devil's" work

    Egypt judge: Al-Jazeera team did "devil's" work

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:43 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:43:34 GMT
    An Egyptian judge released his reasoning for harsh sentences issued against three Al-Jazeera journalists, saying they were brought together "by the devil" to destabilize the country.More >>
    An Egyptian judge released his reasoning for harsh sentences issued against three Al-Jazeera journalists, saying they were brought together "by the devil" to destabilize the country.More >>
  • Peace talks eyed after Israel, Hamas cease-fire

    Peace talks eyed after Israel, Hamas cease-fire

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 3:53 PM EDT2014-07-22 19:53:30 GMT
    The U.S. and Egypt sought Tuesday to find an end to two weeks of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, and officials raised the possibility of restarting stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities as a...More >>
    The U.S. and Egypt sought Tuesday to find an end to two weeks of bloodshed in the Gaza Strip, and officials raised the possibility of restarting stalled peace talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities as a necessary...More >>
Powered by WorldNow