Sabbahi doubts integrity of Egypt's upcoming presidential poll

Ahram Online, Tuesday 11 Mar 2014

Presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabbahi reiterates his criticism of the new presidential elections law and doubts the poll's integrity; his candidacy remains a must

Presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi (Photo: AP)

Presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabbahi reiterated on Monday his criticism of the newly passed presidential elections law, expressing doubts about the integrity and fairness of the upcoming poll.

Sabbahi said in a press conference that the current law, which grants the decisions of the High Presidential Elections Commission (HPEC) immunity by placing them above judicial review, breaches the constitution.

"This is a real test to democracy. If we start this way, it will never stop," he said.

Voicing objections to the law, Sabbahi had earlier announced he may reconsider his candidacy. On Monday, however, he stated that "joining the presidential elections is a must, because it means the revolution has moved from the streets to the state."

The new presidential elections law was passed by the cabinet and announced by interim President Adly Mansour's legal advisor in a press conference earlier this week.

Stipulating that HPEC decisions may not be appealed, this highly debatable article of the new law has drawn criticism from several political parties, who dubbed it as unconstitutional.

According to Article 97 of Egypt’s charter passed in January 2014, "it is forbidden to grant any act or administrative decision immunity from judicial oversight.”

"If you are sure that a specific candidate will win, make a decent law," Sabbahi said in comments to reporters.

With a vast popularity and influence, the country's military chief Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is widely expected to run – and win – in the presidential race planned in April.

Sabbahi, who scored third in the presidential poll that brought Morsi to power, remains the only civilian to have announced his candidacy this year. The liberal politician is supported by his party, The Popular Current, and is in the process of communicating with other liberal parties for endorsement.

Presidential elections are the next step on the roadmap which interim authorities set in motion after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. Parliamentary elections are to follow presidential polls in the transitional period.

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