Egypt parties call for amending protest, parliamentary elections laws

Ahram Online, Wednesday 25 Jun 2014

A group of left-leaning Egyptian political parties says it will present a memorandum of suggested amendments to the state's legislative committee

Cabinet clashes
Egyptian police fire water cannons to disperse a protest in Cairo by secular anti-government activists denouncing military trials for civilians, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 (Photo: AP)

A grouping of left-leaning Egyptian parties has reiterated calls for the amendment of the controversial protest law and the parliamentary elections law, both of which have recently stirred much criticism.

In a meeting on Wednesday, representatives of various parties also condemned security brutality against peaceful youth protesters and called for the release of all those detained for breaching the protest law.

Attendees included representatives of the Constitution Party, the Popular Socialist Alliance, the Karama Party, the Adl Party, the Freedom Egypt Party, as well as the Popular Current movement and its founder, former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi.

The parties, all Sabahi backers in the recently concluded presidential elections, said they will present a memorandum of suggested amendments to the committee of legislative reforms, formed by President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to eye former and current legislative decisions until a new parliament is elected.

The protest law, passed in November of last year, restricts all but state-authorised demonstrations and places lengthy jail terms and heavy fines on violators.

Several activists of the January 2011 revolution are currently serving sentences or facing trials for breaching this law. Local and international rights groups have repeatedly called for its amendment.

Earlier this month, a Cairo court accepted an appeal against the protest law and referred the case to the Supreme Constitutional Court.

The group also called on amending the parliamentary elections law, passed by former president Adly Mansour on his last day in office.

The law was criticised by numerous parties who fear it will recreate the same political environment which allowed Hosni Mubarak’s now-dissolved National Democratic Party to manipulate all political power. 

The grouping of parties said the law should be amended to ensure the representation of all factions of society, as stated in the constitution. They said another memorandum of suggestions will be presented to the presidency once additional parties who share their objections are contacted in the coming days.

The grouping said it would invite other parties espousing a similar political ideology to form an electoral alliance on a national scale.

Sabahi, following his defeat in the presidential elections, had said he would work on forming a civilian democratic alternative that will keep on fighting for democracy, social justice and freedom – cornerstones of the 25 January revolution.

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