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Disenfranchisement law could be questioned in court

Legal expert Sayed Hashem says the military council might approve the Disenfranchisement Law but that its constitutionality could well be questioned in court

Ahram Online , Saturday 14 Apr 2012
Demo against Omar Suleiman
A man holding a poster depicting defaced pictures of presidential candidates who used to work with Hosni Mubarak's government, in Tahrir square in Cairo April 13, 2012.(Photo: Reuters)
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Legal expert Sayed Hashem says that presidential hopefuls who were part of the toppled Mubarak regime will have the right to sue over the constitutionality of the Disenfranchisement Law should it be enacted.

The law has been recently approved by parliament, but is yet to be endorsed by the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which had previously refused to enact the law.

“According to the constitutional declaration issued on 30 March 2011, the president, or whoever acting as the ruler, must approve legislation,” Hashem explained.

“It starts as a bill to be reviewed by the legislative committee and then passed onto parliament.

“The final step would be the president’s approval - the military council in our case. Now the Disenfranchisement Law is on its way to the military council.”

On possible scenarios, Hashem said, “the military council might approve it if they think it does not contradict with the Article 28 of the constitutional declaration. Presidential hopefuls who were part of the old regime would have the right to file lawsuits to question its constitutionality.”

The Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) is not subject to judicial authority pursuant to Article 28 of the constitutional declaration and has full authorities either to accept or to eliminate presidential candidates.

“If the law becomes active before 26 April [when the SPEC is to announce the list of applicants who are legally qualified to run for president], it could be implemented with the knowledge of the commission.”

The law stipulates that those who were part of the former regime over the past 10 years would not be eligible to run for presidency. Former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, would both be eliminated should the law be enacted.

The SCAF, however, has the right – pursuant to the constitution – to veto the bill, according to Hashem, who stressed that such a decision would infuriated - Islamist and leftist political forces who have been seeking to have the law enacted.

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