Ban lifted on Mubarak supporters running for parliament
An Egyptian court on Monday revoked a ban on leading figures from the now-defunct party of former president Hosni Mubarak and said they have the legal right to run for parliament, raising concerns in the anti-Mubarak camp about the make-up of the new legislature.
The Cairo Appeals Court for Urgent Cases abrogated the ban issued in May by a lower court and said there is no evidence that the banned members were involved in corruption.
“There is no constitutional stipulation depriving them from taking part in the political life,” chief justice of the Appeals Court Mohammad Ayoub said in an explanation for the ruling.
Monday’s verdict was in response to an appeal filed by former members from the National Democratic Party (NDP) against the ban, including Tawfik Okasha, the pro-military owner of TV station Al Faraeen.
Months after Mubarak’s ousting in a 2011 popular uprising, a court dissolved the party, which monopolised power in Egypt for decades.
While acknowledging that the latest ruling complies with the constitution, Ehab Sa’ad, an activist in the self-styled Revolutionary Alliance, said it could boost chances for members of the Mubarak party to return to the parliament.
“The ruling has saved the next parliament from the possibility of being invalidated because the constitution does not exclude the NDP members from nomination,” said Sa’ad. “Now we pin our hopes on the intelligence of the Egyptian people that they will not give their votes to the ones who corrupted the country’s political and economic life for long years.”
The ruling comes few months before Egypt holds parliamentary elections, the last major step in a political roadmap announced by the army following its overthrow of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi in July 2013.
The parliament will be Egypt’s first since the Supreme Constitutional Court invalidated the Islamist-dominated legislature in June 2012.
The election, expected to be held later this year, is based on a system that allocates the majority of seats to individual candidates.
Of the 540 seats to be up for grabs in the multi-stage polls, 420 will be confined to individual contenders. The 120 others will be contested by runners from political parties, an arrangement raising concerns that the new legislature, which wields substantial powers under the constitution adopted earlier this year, will be similar to the Mubarak-era parliament.
The constitution gives the head of the state the right to appoint 27 more lawmakers, raising the total number of parliamentary members to 567.