CAIRO: Members of Cairo University’s Teaching Staff Club have vowed to go ahead with club elections despite “politically motivated challenges alleging procedural irregularities in the election.
“The elections will be held over the course of the next five days without any interruption, Club Secretary General Nasr Radwan told Daily News Egypt.
“We have consulted with legal experts who tell us that our legal position is strong, he continued.
Cases have been raised by two Fayoum University professors who allege that they were not notified about the club’s general assembly, which scheduled to be held today. Elections will begin during today’s general assembly.
The two Fayoum University professors are members of Cairo University Club by virtue of the fact that Fayoum University used to be part of Cairo University before it split.
Abdel-Galil Mostafa, a member of the club’s board, says that the legal challenges are politically motivated.
“There are documents – a registered letter – which prove that they were informed in time. In addition, the two professors in question are members of the [ruling] National Democratic Party, Mostafa said.
According to Mostafa, the Ministry of Social Solidarity, which under Egyptian law oversees the affairs of non-governmental organizations, is also challenging the election’s legitimacy.
“The club received a letter on April 5 from the ministry claiming that not all club members have been invited to attend the general assembly, Mostafa explained.
“The letter was sent 65 days after we presented the ministry with arrangements concerning the elections . under the law, the ministry only has 10 days [from the date of being notified] to object.
Ministry of Social Solidarity official Mamdouh El-Fakahany is quoted as saying in daily Al-Masry Al-Youm that any election held by the club would be invalid because of its failure to comply with the law.
Both Mostafa and Radwan say that the Ministry of Social Solidarity has refused to reveal the names of the professors raising the legal case, which is due to be heard on Monday.
Similar events occurred during the club’s last elections, held in 2007, the professors say.
On that occasion Mostafa says, the ministry challenged arrangements concerning voting by proxy. The Cairo University Teaching Staff’s Club forms part of the Teaching Staff of Egyptian Universities Club – a group which represents the interests of teaching staff in the absence of an official union. Members of the Teaching Staff of Egyptian Universities Club have been involved in a long-running campaign for improved pay and conditions for university professors: in March 2008 they staged a one-day strike, while last week they held a protest which they said would be the first of many if the government fails to respond to their demands.