File Photo: Cairo University. (Photo: Mai Shaheen)
Muslim Brotherhood, 6th of April, and Revolutionary Socialists banned from student union elections
The Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education will start accepting candidacy applications on Monday for student union elections after announcing the exclusion of students belonging to the banned Muslim Brotherhood, the 6th of April Youth Movement, and the Revolutionary Socialists.
A preliminary list of candidates will be announced on Thursday with a final list, after appeals are settled, due to be publicised on 10 November. Campaigning will take place from 11-15 November and election day will be on 16 November.
The student union elections come after a two-year hiatus, the last elections being held in 2013.
Cairo University President Gaber Nassar told Aswat Masriya that student elections will be conducted in accordance with the university bylaws and the university administration will not interfere in the process.
He stressed the importance of student participation in the elections to form a council that represents them.
He also urged candidates to abide by campaign rules and to refrain from using any partisan or religious slogans.
According to a source in the ministry of higher education, the ban on the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated students and that on the 6th of April members are based on court rulings designating the first a terrorist organisation and banning the activities of the second.
The source did not specify a reason for banning the Revolutionary Socialists.
Four camps have already emerged. The first one is an alliance including the banned groups and members of Al-Dostour party. The second was established by the pro-regime Mostaqbal Watan party (The Nation's Future Party), which gained 30 seats in the first phase of the recent parliamentary elections, running under the slogan Tahya Masr (Long Live Egypt), the slogan used in President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's presidential campaign.
The third camp is an alliance called Sawt Tollab Masr (The Voice of Egypt's Students), which seeks to take politics out of university life, while the fourth includes independent students and remnants of former student unions.
The Ministry of Higher Education has made several amendments to the student activity byl aws which, critics say, curtail their participation in elections.
The ministry has disqualified certain students from running in the elections: non-Egyptians, those who failed to pay the full university fees, students who are not involved in student activities excluding freshmen, students who were punished by a disciplinary committee and students who belong to a banned organization.
In an October statement, the Revolutionary Socialists rejected the new bylaws, questioning the “integrity” of the coming student union elections, which they believe will be “the regime’s arm” in universities.
*This story has been edited by Ahram Online