Constitution Party won't take part in Egypt’s parliamentary elections

Ahram Online , Saturday 7 Feb 2015

Party cites failure to release detained young people and failure to amend protest law as grounds for decision

Constitution Party spokesman Khaled Dawoud (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The left-of-centre Constitution Party, founded by former presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei, said on Saturday that it will not take part in Egypt’s March parliamentary elections due to “unfavourable circumstances.”

Party spokesman Khaled Dawoud said that the reasons behind the decision included the fact that Egyptian President Adel-Fattah El-Sisi had not released a number of detained youths as promised.

“And the protest law hasn’t been amended, which has put many behind bars,” he told Ahram Online.

The protest law, passed after the 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, stipulates that demonstrations must be sanctioned by the police in advance. Hundreds have been jailed for breaking the law, which free speech advocates have demanded be amended.

Last month El-Sisi reportedly said during a visit to the UAE that the government was preparing a list of jailed young people whose legal status would be reviewed for possible release. No further action has been announced.

Dawoud also said the death of protester Shaimaa El-Sabagh last month, a leading Socialist Popular Alliance Party member who was shot when police forcibly dispersed a march she was attending, was not investigated and retribution has not yet been achieved.

El-Sabagh was killed during a peaceful march held on 24 January near Tahrir Square to commemorate those killed in the 25 January revolution on its fourth anniversary. The Socialist Popular Alliance Party have accused the police or deliberately shooting her dead, while the interior ministry denies the accusation.

The Democratic Current, an umbrella group of liberal and leftist parties including the Socialist Popular Alliance Party and the Constitution Party, who intended to run in parliamentary elections on the same list, drew up a list of demands to run in the elections.

The five demands were: the sacking of Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, reforming the interior ministry, amending the protest law, releasing all those detained for violating the protest law, and conducting a transparent investigation of El-Sabagh's killing.

“These demands were not fulfilled by the government, so we thought we can’t run in this election under the circumstances,” Dawoud explained.

The first round of voting in the upcoming parliamentary elections is scheduled for March.

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