Egypt's President Mansour calls for meeting over new elections law

Gamal Essam El-Din , Tuesday 11 Mar 2014

Meeting at presidential palace with Egypt's top political figures hopes to reach agreement over law's most contentious points

Adli Mansour
Egypt's interim President Adli Mansour (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's interim President Adly Mansour has called for an urgent meeting on Wednesday with top political figures to reach a consensus on a newly issued law governing the country's upcoming presidential elections.

The 60-article law, issued by Mansour on Saturday, has drawn criticism from several political forces, most notably for an article rejecting appeals of the election's results, which some have labeled as "unconstitutional."

The meeting on Wednesday at Ittihadiya presidential palace will try to reach an agreement on the law's most contentious issues, said Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat, head of the liberal Reform and Development Party (RDP), who will be attending the talks with Mansour.

El-Sadat said that the meeting is "a good step" and proof that Mansour wants to listen to more viewpoints regarding the law's final draft.

"I think that if President Mansour finds that there must be a new change for the law to gain consensus, he will not hesitate to adopt it," El-Sadat said.

The backlash over the elections law highlights an emerging divide in Egypt's current political climate, with opposition figures speaking out against what they say is the interim government's failure to uphold the ideals of the 2011 uprising.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Nasserist politician and 2012 presidential contender Hamdeen Sabbahi said that the law's article 7, which prohibits appeals, "violates" the recently amended constitution and presents a setback to Egypt's democratic hopes.

Sabbahi has announced he will contend the 2014 presidential elections alongside Defence Minister Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, widely expected to win the popular vote although he has yet to officially declare his candidacy.

Hossam Mounis, media spokesman for Sabbahi's political party The Egyptian Popular Current, drew El-Sisi into the debate over the elections law, saying that it had been "tailored to serve El-Sisi's interests."

"The law brings the country back to the Mubarak era when laws were being tailored to serve the regime," Mounis said.

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