CAIRO: The State Council Administrative Court refused Tuesday to review a lawsuit against the provisions of Article 76 of the constitution that governs the eligibility of presidential candidates, stating that it was not within its remit.
Member of Parliament Mohamed El-Omda had filed the suit claiming that a court order should review the article to allow for more favorable conditions for independent candidates to contest presidential elections.
The court declined to review the case, stating that it wasn’t within its jurisdiction to do so and that amendments made to the article in 2007 legally adhered to the law and the constitution and were approved by the Egyptian people.
Article 76 of the constitution governs the eligibility of anyone seeking to run for presidency in Egypt. Independent candidates who are not members of political parties must attain 250 endorsements from the People’s Assembly, the Shoura Council and local councils.
Muslim Brotherhood MP Hussein Ibrahim told Daily News Egypt that the court’s decision was expected since it had no jurisdiction over articles in the constitution, “although Article 76 contradicts several other articles in the constitution.”
The two houses of parliament and local councils are dominated by the ruling National Democratic Party, leading others to state that it is extremely difficult for independent candidates to secure the requisite number of signatures.
Ibrahim said, “To amend an article in the constitution in the People’s Assembly, a third of the members must propose the amendment and two thirds are required to vote for it to pass. Opposition members in total do not add up to a third of parliament so it practically cannot happen.”
Former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei is calling for an amendment to Article 76, and has predicated the possibility of his running in the 2011 presidential elections on the modification of the article.
El-Omda had argued in his lawsuit that the current stipulations contained within the article posed an unfair obstacle to independent candidates. Attaining the required signatures, he added, was practically impossible within the current makeup of the houses of parliament.
Ibrahim said, “The only solution for amending Article 76 is by the popular will of the people, who must call for the changes they want and reverse the constitutional coup d’état that took place in 2007.”