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Draft law aims to ban Mubarak holdovers from Egypt political life

Responding to Suleiman presidency bid, parliament mulls bill aimed at excluding Mubarak-era officials from post-revolution political arena

Ahram Online, Tuesday 10 Apr 2012
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A general view of the Egyptian parliament. (Photo: Reuters)
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Parliament's constitutional and legislative committee on Tuesday agreed on a proposed "Disenfranchisement Law" that would ban figures associated with the former regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak from participating in Egyptian political life for a ten-year period.

The bill will now be referred to the People's Assembly (the lower house of Egypt's Parliament) for approval.

The move came against the wishes of Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which expressed its disapproval of the proposed legislation on Monday.

SCAF member Major Mohamed El-Assar reportedly stated that Parliament lacked the authority to adopt the bill. He went on to stress that only the SCAF – which has governed the country since Mubarak's ouster early last year – had the authority to approve the proposed law.

Al-Assar also reportedly stated that the proposed Disenfranchisement Law would not be implemented except in cases of treason and conspiracy against the nation. He went on to point out, however, that none of the former regime members currently on the political landscape had been shown to be guilty of either charge.

Farouk Sultan, chairman of Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court, for his part, announced that he would begin accepting complaints against the 23 approved presidential candidates on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Supreme Presidential Elections Commission (SPEC) secretary-general Hatem Bagato, however, has described such complaints as "illegitimate," asserting that citizens lack the right to lodge complaints against presidential contenders. He went on to explain that only registered candidates were allowed to file complaints against other candidates. 

Bagato also said that, after studying the complaints, he would notify all disqualified candidates on Thursday and Friday. Disqualified candidates would then be given the chance to appeal the decision on Saturday and Sunday. 

The final list of official presidential candidates will be announced on 26 April.

The draft Disenfranchisement Law was initially proposed by Essam Sultan, MP for the moderate-Islamist Wasat Party, in a Sunday session of Parliament.

The issue was first raised in response to the recent announcement by Mubarak-era intelligence chief Omar Suleiman that he planned to make a bid for highest office.

In the event it is passed, the law will be applied to any candidate that had been associated with the ousted president within the past five years.

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