By Tamim Elyan
CAIRO: The Egyptian Coalition for Elections Monitoring (ECEM) said Sunday that it will present a list of demands regarding constitutional reforms that will ensure a better electoral system than that offered by President Hosni Mubarak.
The coalition formed a consultancy committee comprised of various thinkers and specialists to work on an extensive program for political and constitutional reform. Demands based upon the committee’s analyses will be sent directly to Mubarak since, according to the ECEM, the “elected Parliament — formed of a sweeping majority of ruling party MPs — would not accept it.”
Several of the ECEM’s demands include modifying Article 88 of the Constitution to address the judicial supervision of elections; banning unspecialized courts from addressing electoral disputes by designating the Higher Administrative Court as the sole judicial body that may hear such disputes; and an alteration of laws that currently grant the People’s Assembly exclusive authority to determine the legitimacy of its membership.
The ECEM demands also include utilizing a roster electoral system instead of an electoral system composed of individual candidates; passing legislation that guarantees the exclusion of the executive authority in influencing the elections; and putting the voting rosters under the control of the general prosecution rather than under the Ministry of Interior’s control.
The ECEM is composed of 123 different organizations and is headed by the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR).
The latest electoral monitoring report stated that the elections witnessed “massive fraud operations,” citing that the workers union manipulated candidates’ identities so that former police officers could run for office in the workers’ category; court rulings that disqualified candidates were not enforced; and candidates’ representatives were illegally prevented from entering the polling stations.
“Previous Constitutional reforms did not actually cause any [real] reform,” said the Head of the EOHR Hafez Abu Saeda in a press conference. “In reality, [past constitutional reforms did not] produce a democratic rotation of power or a more effective social participation in running public affairs.
“We are now working on a national reform project — with the help of political and legislative experts — and will soon announce it to the public,” Abu Saeda added.
The report stated that the elections were characterized by restrictions on civil society monitors, the usage of thugs in preventing voters from casting their votes, as well as the absence of appropriate voting procedures such as phosphoric ink use and the placing of curtains around ballot boxes.
“This parliament won’t be able to perform its role in monitoring the performance of the executive authority since it lacks the minimum 25 percent of opposition MPs [required],” said Amr Hashem Rabei, a political expert at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
“[The new parliament] also [has] 49 members with a security background — either in the police or the military — while laws like the emergency law and the anti-terrorism law are set to be discussed in the next parliamentary round,” Rabei added.
Rabei stated that opposition powers must form a strong alliance and boycott the upcoming presidential elections.
The report also stated that the women’s quota system proved to be “inefficient,” since the average female MP, whose constituencies either cover a governorate or a half a governorate, will represent more than 1 million voters while the average male MP will represent only tens of thousands of voters.
The report also added that the electoral media coverage was biased — especially by media outlets owned by the state.