Only the Egyptian Left can compete in October's presidential election

Gamal Essam El-Din , Wednesday 5 Jan 2011

Amendment sees the leftist Tagammu party able to field a candidate in this year's presidential election

Rifaat El Said
Tagammu Party leader, Rifaat El Said, may well be the sole contender for the presidency, facing up to the ruling NDP's yet to be announced candidate

The cabinet's ministerial group for political and legislative affairs, led by minister of parliamentary affairs Moufid Shehab, approved today an amendment of the presidential election law no.74/2005. Shehab indicated that the amendment is aimed at complying with the 2007 amendment of article 76 of the constitution, stating that nomination for presidential elections shall be allowed for political parties provided they have at least three per cent of the total of elected seats in each of the People's Assembly and Shura Council.

The amended article also indicated that legal political parties shall be allowed to field candidates in any presidential elections to be conducted within ten years of the 1st of May 2006, provided that one of its members has won a seat in the People's Assembly or Shura Council in the most recent parliamentary elections.

According to minister Shehab, when article 76 was first amended in 2005, it stipulated that political parties have at least five per cent of seats in each of the two houses. “As a result, it was necessary to meet today and amend the presidential election law to comply with the amended article 76 of the constitution.”

In recent parliamentary elections, most opposition political parties failed to win any seats in the People's Assembly. The Wafd party, the largest legal opposition party, decided to freeze the membership of its MPs, a step which would disqualify it from fielding candidates in this year's presidential election. The Nasserist party also cannot field presidential candidates because it failed to win a single seat. The leftist Tagammu party, however, meets the criteria of the amended article as it has more than one seat in each of the People's Assembly and Shura Council.

Meanwhile, Shehab indicated that in its meeting today morning, the cabinet's ministerial group also approved the amendments of another package of laws. These include the consumer protection law; fighting industrial and commercial fraud activities; standardisation of industrial specification, the private-public partnership (PPP) law; and regulating the use of underground water.

Shehab explained that these legislative amendments, which will be discussed by the cabinet in its coming meeting ahead of referring them to the two houses of parliament, aim at tightening the state's grip on the market to fight commercial fraud and safeguard consumers against sub-standard goods.

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