Political Parties Urge Egypt’s Mansour to Allow Appeals in Presidential Polls

Five Egyptian political parties have sent interim President Adly Mansour a letter asking him to amend a controversial law which elevates the results of the country’s upcoming presidential elections above judicial appeal.

The letter’s five signatories – the leftist Egyptian Popular Current, the liberal Constitution Party, the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, the Nasserist Al-Karama Party and the Socialist Popular Alliance Party – asked Mansour to amend article 7 of an elections law he issued earlier this month so that presidential candidates will be allowed to appeal the results of the polls.

As it stands, the article eliminates appeals against the decisions of the Presidential Elections Commission (PEC), the judicial body overseeing the upcoming elections, an exclusion that critics have labeled as unconstitutional.

Mansour has maintained that the elections should take place as soon as possible and that appeals against the PEC’s decisions could delay the process up to five months.

However, the letter sent to Mansour on Wednesday offered suggestions as to how an expedited appeals process could be handled:

Presidential candidates would have the right to appeal the PEC’s decision within two days. The appeals would then be presented to the High Administrative Court, which would decide on the appeals over a period of not more than five days. After that, the PEC would re-announce the final results, which would be closed to further appeals.

The letter suggested that the hotly debated article had been included in order to guarantee the results of the presidential elections.

“The PEC’s decisions have been immunised to protect a specific candidate,” the letter said.

Defence minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is widely expected to win the elections, should he declare his candidacy.

However, the letter said that a move to safeguard the victory of a particular candidate could very well backfire, in that it would provide political ammunition for the government’s most outspoken critics.

The intense debate around the elections law, and Mansour’s delays in issuing a finalised version, have further slowed down the election process, which was slated to begin on 18 February, one month after the country’s new constitution was approved in a public referendum.

Mansour’s advisor for legal affairs, Ali Awad, said that the decision to not allow appeals in the election was taken in light of Egypt’s “current circumstances,” arguing that the swift election of a new president would put an end to the upheaval gripping the country since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi last summer.

Meanwhile, Mansour has met with several political forces to gain their support over the new law.

So far, the only candidate to announce his intentions to run in the elections has been leftist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi, who said he will apply with the PEC for candidacy once the door for applications opens.

Despite swirling media rumours in recent weeks, El-Sisi has not officially announced his candidacy.

Doing so will require him to leave his post as defence minister, as per a law prohibiting military and army personnel from entering politics.

Mansour has said that the presidential elections are to end before 17 July, paving the way for parliamentary polls.

Source: Ahram Online

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