The presidency Saturday canceled an article in the new presidential elections law that would have allowed citizens to file appeals against any decisions made by the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC).
Presidential Constitutional Adviser Ali Awad said the presidential decision to omit Article 7, based on the approval of the cabinet and the General Assembly of the Supreme Constitutional Court, was taken because of security and economic problems.
Constitutional expert Raafat Fouda criticised Awad and the SEC. “The decision is unconstitutional,” Fouda said. “It clashes with Article 97, which prohibits immunising any action from inspection. The catastrophe is that the head of the supreme constitutional court is in this commission. The constitution was not given its due by those responsible for it.”
If people can be imprisoned for disobeying law, lawmakers must be held accountable by the people, Fouda said.
“Isn’t [former president Mohamed] Morsi being tried for disobeying the law and insulting judiciary?” he said. “They imprison people for disobeying the law, so what about them [who approved the decision]? Prison is not enough.”
“They only apply the law on the poor, not those in authority,” he said. “If they want people to respect the law, then authorities should respect it first.”
Awad said the decision was made after debates for and against it, all of which had constitutional grounding.
The SEC is an independent five-member judicial body headed by the president of the Supreme Constitutional Court.
Article 6 of the new law, which cancelled the 2005 presidential elections law, gave the commission 13 responsibilities. The SEC is responsible for announcing the deadline for registering to run for president, as well as defining the election procedure and policing its implementation. It is also to announce the deadline for dropping out of the race. The commission will receive requests for running, and check candidates’ compliance to the law’s conditions for running.
The SEC will announce the final list of presidential candidates. Also, the SEC is to specify the dates for starting and ending presidential campaigns while making sure campaign rules set by this law are abided by.
The commission is to call on voters to elect a president, and to supervise procedures of electing and counting votes.
Another job set for the SEC is to look into all issues put forth by general commissions assigned to supervise the elections. It is to take final decisions concerning all objections and complaints related to elections.
The SEC is to rule in all matters concerning its specifications, including disputes.
The SEC is also to receive collected results of the elections, and announce the new president.
To run for president, a candidate must have a university degree, and must be born to Egyptian parents. Neither the candidate’s parents nor his or her spouse may hold dual nationality, according to Article 1. The candidate should have the right to political participation.
The law states that campaigning starts 30 days before the elections day and ends two days before it, according to Article 17.
Whoever hides or ruins any campaign flyer “with the intention of changing the truth” or “the repetition or halting of the elections” will be sentenced to a minimum of two years imprisonment, according to Article 50.
In order to win the upcoming elections, a presidential candidate must win at least 50%+1 of the votes, Awad said. If there was only one candidate, he or she would only need to garner five percent of votes.
The new presidential elections law was given to President Adly Mansour for review on Wednesday.