SEC official denies statements on punishment of judges failing to oversee elections

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CAIRO: A member of the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) denied on Tuesday reports that he said that judges will face “serious” disciplinary action if they refuse to oversee legislative elections which begin later this month.

“I neither confirmed nor denied that they would be punished,” Justice Yousry Abdel Karim, the head of the SEC’s technical office, told Daily News Egypt in a telephone interview.

He added that the statements attributed to him by an independent weekly newspaper were untrue, and that he had never met any of the newspaper’s reporters.

Abdel Karim assured that members of the SEC’s Judicial Committee respect their colleagues.

“It’s not my decision to say whether they will be punished or not. Each group of judges serves under a separate judicial authority, so it’s not SEC’s responsibility [to handle this situation],” he explained.

Abdel Karim recounted previous media statements when he said that monitoring the parliamentary elections is a national duty in which he believes all judges will be willing to participate.

He explained that the SEC is an executive committee that only implements laws, but has no right to add or remove any part of the elections process.

The first post-Mubarak parliamentary elections that will take place over a period of under four months starting Nov. 28 is organized by the SEC, a judicial authority.

Article 39 of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’ constitutional declaration on March 30, 2011 grants judges full supervisory authority over the elections, a basic demand of protesters who toppled Mubarak last February.

“Restoration of the full judicial supervision of the electoral process … is an important victory,” Abdel Karim told attendees of a roundtable organized by Al-Ahram newspaper last week.


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