Egypt's National Dialogue participants call for ways to improve implementation of political rights law

Aya Salah , Sunday 30 Jul 2023

Egypt has a high-quality law, but there are ways to improve its implementation, the National Dialogue’s Political Rights Committee rapporteur Ahmed Abdel-Ghany said on Sunday, referring to the 1977 political rights law which has been repeatedly amended since the 2011 Revolution.

National Dialogue
Participants at the Political comittee session on Sunday. Photo courtesy of National Dialogue


“We have a set of notes related to the exercise of political rights, most importantly those related to the weak electoral participation,” Abdel-Ghany continued.

His remarks came during a National Dialogue session dedicated to discussing the political rights law.

The session marks the National Dialogues’ first session after an extended holiday. The dialogue, now in its fifth week, will hold a new round of public sessions discussing topics such as political rights, public debt, and cultural industries.

Abdel-Ghany pointed out that the parliamentary elections of 2012 saw a participation rate of 54 percent. In 2015 and 2020 however, the participation rate dropped to less than 28 percent.

These percentages are alarming, he emphasized, and we must know the reasons for the weak participation, and how to enhance it while guaranteeing the political rights of citizens.

In the same context, the General Coordinator of the National Dialogue Diaa Rashwan suggested that election days be made official holidays, with a penalty of 500 Egyptian pounds for those who do not participate in the electoral process.

As for monitoring and regulating elections, Justice Party representative Hossam Hassan called on the National Electoral Commission to strictly maintain electoral rules. 

He also demanded that the judge of the electoral sub-committee have authority over the entire electoral process, not just within the committee.

Moreover, Hassan pointed out that the previous election campaigns have been marred by legal violations and irregularities, emphasizing that the current electoral campaign budget caps do not suit the current reality and should be increased. 

Representative of the People’s Party Mohamed Abu Hemila seconded this opinion and suggested amending the campaign budget maximums upward by an additional 500,000 pounds.

Abdullah El-Maghazy, a member of the People's Council responsible for vote counting, announced that it would be possible to combine electronic voting with paper ballots.

 In this regard, Mohamed Azmi, a member of the Senate representing the voice of the Egyptian youth, extolled the advantages of the electronic system including the speed of vote counting, an increase in result accuracy, and increasing voter turnout. 

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