CAIRO: Door for presidential candidature applications will open in April following the public referendum on the new constitution, according to a report by state-run Al-Ahram newspaper Sunday.
The report quoted Judge Mohamed Attiya, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, as saying that the presidential elections will be held after the referendum on the new constitution, adding that the constituent assembly that will draft the constitution will be formed after both houses of parliament are seated end of March.
Attiya also said that cabinet will discuss the presidential elections law next Wednesday before presenting it to Egypt’s military rulers for final approval.
The legislative committee of the civilian Advisory Council, tasked with giving advice to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, had offered amendments to the presidential elections law to Cabinet last week amid skepticism on the part of presidential hopefuls that the elections will indeed be held by June as scheduled.
The published amendments hold that elections will take place over two days if necessary, with voters allowed to cast their ballots in any polling station using their national ID cards.
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.
Candidates must be at least 40 years old and will not be allowed to exceed their constitutional term in office which is four years, renewable once.
Attiya added that the process of electing a new president will be organized by a committee similar to the Supreme Electoral Commission which managed the recent parliamentary elections. It will be headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court and will also include the head of the Cairo Court of Appeals and the first deputy of the Court of Cassation and the head of the State Council.
This committee will organize the voting process through election sub-committees in Egypt’s 27 governorates and will set rules on issues related to funding and campaigning.
According to presidential hopeful Ayman Nour who also ran in the 2005 presidential race against the toppled incumbent Hosni Mubarak, the new elections law did not impose a minimum or maximum amount on campaign spending, which is vital to provide equal opportunity for all candidates.
Attiya says that the Minister of Justice should issue a decree to organize the operational procedures for the presidential elections upon the finalization of the presidential elections law.
Political players, including some presidential hopefuls, have proposed beginning the nominations process on the first anniversary of the Jan. 25 Revolution, to announce the final list of eligible candidates on Feb. 11 (the first anniversary of when Mubarak stepped down) so the new president would be sworn in within 60 days of that date.
However, the idea was refused by the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and presidential hopeful Mohamed Selim Al-Awa, who insist that presidential elections process begin after the constitutional referendum to ensure that it is aligned with the interim constitutional declaration that was announced by the ruling military on March 30.?