CAIRO: The Advisory Council’s legislative committee presented its amendments to the presidential elections law to the Cabinet amid skepticism on the part of presidential hopefuls that the elections will be held by June as scheduled.
“This is all reminiscent of the 2005 presidential elections. This [draft] law will be the basis for rigging the vote. The most important article — Article 28 — which does not allow candidates to file appeals to any judicial body other than the supreme electoral committee has not been amended,” said presidential hopeful Ayman Nour.
According to state newspaper Al-Ahram, where the amendments were published, the elections will be held over two days if necessary, with voters allowed to cast their ballots in any polling station using their national ID.
Moreover, the amendments stipulate that independent presidential candidates collect at least 30,000 endorsements from 15 provinces, or secure the backing of 30 People’s Assembly and Shoura Council members of parliament. Parties must have at least one seat in parliament to be able to nominate a candidate.
Nour said the existing presidential elections law has constitutional and legislative flaws that were not discussed or amended in the new draft.
“There should be a minimum and maximum amount of expenditure in campaigns to provide equal opportunity for all candidates,” he explained.
In light of recent clashes between protesters and military personnel, Egypt’s political powers have continued to debate various scenarios to speed up the transitional period even though the Advisory Council has stated that the idea is off the table.
The Council, recently formed by Egypt’s military rulers, announced that there were no plans to hold presidential elections sooner than June 30 as scheduled to allow more time for drafting the constitution.
According to Ali El Bahnasawy, communications director for presidential hopeful Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh’s campaign, Aboul Fotouh “would rather hold the elections tomorrow because the longer the transition is under the military council, the more damaging it is to Egypt.”
“There is not enough time for campaigning but all we want is a fast and swift handover to civilian rule,” he added.
Hoda Abdel Baset, Hamdeen Sabahi’s media advisor, said the presidential hopeful submitted an official request to start accepting nomination for candidacy mid-January but is yet to receive feedback.
“A serious step must be taken so that people know that the elections will take place,” she said.
“Elections must take place before June 30, they should be held after the Shoura Council elections and after the general committee to draft the constitution is chosen or else it will be unconstitutional,” said Mohamed Selim El Awa’s campaign manager Medhat Hassan.
A number of activists and public figures proposed a transfer of power through holding the presidential elections immediately after the parliamentary elections which end mid January.
Around 65 political activists gathered last Saturday to offer their proposal to open the door for the presidential elections on the first anniversary of the Jan. 25 Revolution, to announce the final list of candidates on Feb. 11, the first anniversary of when Mubarak stepped down, and to swear in the new president within 60 days of the date of announcing the names.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), however, rejected the aforementioned proposals saying in a statement that moving up the presidential elections would lead to chaos.