Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Says Government Seeks to Block its Participation in Shura Elections
By Mohammad Baali
Albawaba.com - Cairo
The main opposition Egyptian group, the Muslim Brotherhood, has repeated its accusations that the authorities have arrested three of its members to prevent the Islamists from taking part in the Shura Council elections scheduled to start on May 16.
In a statement to Albawaba.com here, spokesman for the banned movement, Mamoun Hudhaibi, said that the authorities are trying, through detaining a number of the group’s candidates, to undermine their chances of winning.
Two university professors and a third candidate for the consultative council were arrested weeks ago.
This leaves four of the movement’s candidates able to run for the 88 seats contested in the upcoming elections.
Hudhaibi said the three were arrested while on their way to the interior ministry to submit their applications, denying claims by the ministry that they were arrested in different situations. The government procedure is a violation of their civil and constitutional rights, according to the official.
592 candidates from different political parties have registered to run for the Shura Council elections, which will be held over three stages.
Minister of Interior Habib al-Adly said the police will play an effective role in securing the Shura Council mid-term elections and provide a climate proper for polling freedom.
In the 1998 elections, in which the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) easily won all 88 seats, the number of candidates stood at almost 400.
The Shura Council, established by late President Anwar Sadat in 1980, serves an upper house with no legislative powers.
Two-thirds of them are chosen by secret ballot in general elections, and the remaining third are appointed by the president. The council's functions include preparing reports on current issues and debating laws that are considered supplementary to the Constitution before they are sent to the People's Assembly. President Mubarak decided two years ago to empower the council to debate the state's annual socio-economic plan and budget.
Candidates of the Muslim Brotherhood ran as independents in the October-November parliamentary elections, and were able to secure 17 seats in the “People’s Assembly,” despite alleged government intervention to block their victory – Albawaba.com
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