Parliament approves amending recently approved presidential elections law

Ahram Online, Monday 7 May 2012

Upon request by several MPs, the People's Assembly has agreed to limit the effect of controversial Article 28, which prevents decisions by the electoral commission from being appealed

The People's Assembly (the lower house of parliament) has agreed to amend the presidential elections law in relation to Article 28, which grants the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) immunity from appeal.

Article 28, which mekes part of the constitutional declaration, had been criticised by a number of MPs, and has also come under fire from activists, as it means that SPEC decisions cannot be appealed.  

Salafist MP Mamdouh Ismail criticised the article, while MP Mohamed Mounir demanded that the law is referred to the Supreme Constitutional Court to judge whether it is constitutional.

Meanwhile, Basel Adel, MP for the Free Egyptians Party, stressed the importance of holding those who violate the two-day ban on campaigning to account. According to the elections law, candidates must end their campaigning two days before the polls open.

Egypt's parliament had already amended the presidential elections law in February 2012. However, in the February debates, several MPs from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) refused to amend Article 28. At the time they said that because Article 28 was part of the constitutional declaration, approved in a public referendum in March 2011, it should not be tampered with.

Presidential elections are planned to take place on 23 and 24 May, with a runoff vote scheduled for 16 and 17 June in the event that no single candidate wins an outright majority. Egypt's next president will be formally named on 21 June.

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