CAIRO: The Lawyers’ Syndicate opened the door for nominations in its general elections on Monday, after having postponed it three times since October 2008.
The deadline for nominations is April 19 and the elections will be held on May 23. Controversy continues to shroud the elections. Last week, lawyers appealed the nominations list before the Administrative Court, demanding the elections be postponed for a fourth time. Their appeal was turned down. Twelve lawyers are currently running for the syndicate’s chairman position; among them are incumbent chairman Sameh Ashour and Ragai Attiya. None of these candidates belong to the Muslim Brotherhood, member Ahmed Al-Sayed said. Around 100 lawyers are running for the syndicate’s board of directors, seven of them affiliated with the Brotherhood. Al-Sayed said that while over 50 Brotherhood lawyers applied for the syndicate’s board of directors, most of them have yet to be included in the official candidates list. He said the list will be altered in the coming few days. Al-Sayed also said that Attiya was initially running for the chairman position as a Brotherhood candidate, however, negotiations between him and the group failed. While so far the electoral process has seen rifts between different political parties, Ashour said he opposed the idea of the syndicate becoming a hub for political and religious trends, dissociating himself from political groups, namely the Muslim Brotherhood. During a press conference at the syndicate Monday, Ashour said that the Lawyers’ Syndicate should maintain its position as an independent authority that represents the “majority of lawyers with their different political affiliations and ideologies. On the other hand, Al-Sayed accused Ashour and his electoral list of winning the previous elections through rigged voting. “Only two of the candidates on Ashour’s list [received high votes], but the rest were rigged votes, he claimed, adding that the Brotherhood had filed a lawsuit against them at the time, leading to the postponement of the elections this past March. Last month, Brotherhood lawyers staged protests inside the Higher Court of Justice and in front of the South Cairo Court where they opposed the delay of the elections and demanded a date be set immediately. The Lawyers’ Syndicate elections have been postponed three times since October 2008, the first of which was to give lawyers extra time to campaign. Last January the Cairo Administrative Court halted elections three days before they were scheduled to take place due to a report issued by a judicial committee to scrutinize the registration of lawyers who will vote in the elections. On his part, Ashour condemned all the lawyers that had a hand in the postponement of the elections.