Reformist judge resigns from Egypt's judiciary to focus on presidential run

Sarah Mourad , Wednesday 28 Mar 2012

Hesham El-Bastawisi resigned from his post at Egypt's Court of Cassation on Tuesday night to devote all his energy to presidential campaign

El Bastawisi
Hopeful Presidential Candidate, Hesham El Bastawisi (Photo: Reuters)

Hesham El-Bastawisi – reformist judge, vice-president of Egypt’s Court of Cassation and presidential hopeful – delivered his resignation on Tuesday night to Court of Cassation President Hossam El-Gharyany.

El-Bastawisi reportedly decided to resign from his court post in order to fully commit to his presidential campaign and because sitting judges cannot engage in political activity according to judiciary law.

 

Egypt’s Supreme Judicial Council has reportedly referred El-Bastawisi’s resignation to Justice Minister Adel Abdel Hamid, after which Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) is expected to remove his name from the judiciary register.

 

In the event that he fails to win upcoming presidential elections, slated for 23 and 24 May, El-Bastawisi may legally withdraw his resignation.

 

At a Tuesday press conference, El-Bastawisi announced that he would enter the presidential contest on the left-wing Tagammu Party’s ticket.

 

El-Bastawisi has for years been known as a prominent reformist judge and highly respected political personality. He is best known for having stood up to Egypt’s autocratic former regime, having played a key role in the struggle for judicial independence in the wake of 2005 parliamentary elections, which were widely recognised as having been rigged.

El-Bastawisi publicly endorsed last year’s popular uprising against the Mubarak regime, participating in numerous protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square throughout the 18-day uprising. He has also regularly participated in subsequent Tahrir Square demonstrations against Egypt’s ruling SCAF, which has governed the country since Mubarak’s ouster early last year.

El-Bastawisi first announced his intention to run in Egypt’s first post-Mubarak presidential election in March of last year.

He temporarily suspended his plans to vie for the presidency last November, following violent clashes between security forces and anti-SCAF protesters in downtown Cairo, which left more than 40 dead and scores injured.

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