Egypt military gives in to parties, amends election law

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CAIRO: Egypt’s military amended a controversial election law on Saturday to allow parties to contest a third of the seats in parliament reserved for independents after a boycott threat, state media reported.

The military decree is a concession to the parties, which also insist on a law banning corrupt politicians from running for office for a decade.

The official MENA news agency reported that the military "decided to cancel Article 5 of the election law," which reserved a third of seats for independents.

The three-round parliamentary election that starts on November 28 will be the first since an uprising toppled president Hosni Mubarak on February 11. His now dissolved party dominated parliament throughout his three-decade rule.

Political parties had warned the military, which took charge after Mubarak’s ouster, that they would boycott the poll if the article allowing only independent candidates to contest a third of the seats was not amended.

Dozens of parties have sprung up since Mubarak’s ouster, including several Islamist parties that are predicted to make gains in the election.

The military says it will hand power to a civilian government after a presidential election which has yet to be scheduled.

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