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Newly issued lustration law slammed as ineffective

The law, which bans remnants of the former NDP from participating in political life, has been issued just days before elections are due to be held

Sarah Raslan, Monday 21 Nov 2011
NDP poster
An NDP election poster during the 2010 elections (File photo).
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The long promised lustration law, which disenfranchises former leading members of the National Democratic Party (NDP) and bans them from running for public office, was finally issued on Monday.

The lustration law, passed by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), is an adjustment to the disenfranchisement law which isolated remnants of the overthrown regime from political life after the Egyptian Revolution of 1952.

In the case of the January 25 Revolution, the lustration law, which has been a long time demand of Egypt’s post-revolution political forces, was issued a bit late to be effective, say activists and lawyers.

With parliamentary elections days away, remnants of the ousted regime who are running for parliament cannot be banned from the elections.

“In my opinion, the amendments that the military junta made to the disenfranchisement law make it very difficult for old regime members to be isolated from political life,” said Ahmed Fawzi, a lawyer.

Fawzi is pessimistic about the effectiveness of the new law, saying that it should have been passed long before the candidacy doors for the upcoming parliamentary elections closed.

“I really don’t know why the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would do this or why it took them so long to make a decision,” Fawzi said. “All I know is that they have failed to manage the transitional period and that whenever they make a decision they don’t know why or in whose favour the decision is made.”

Fawzi explained that under the newly passed lustration law, remnants of Mubarak’s regime can only be removed from political life if they are accused and charged in criminal court.

“If a candidate is a remnant of the old regime, they could still win elections,” Fawzi said.

“After they win someone would have to go to a criminal court and file suit against them and if they are indicted then they are isolated from political life under this law.”

Referencing how ousted president Mubarak and his henchmen have still not been indicted, Fawzi said that the process could take years.

“And even if they are charged in criminal court,” Fawzi said, “the law could then be declared unconstitutional because it is not going in a natural order.”

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