The Cairo Urgent Matters Court of Appeals overturned on Monday a decision banning leaders of the now-dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP) from running in the upcoming presidential, parliamentary and local councils’ elections.
The Supreme Administrative Court dissolved the NDP and ordered the liquidation of its assets in April 2011, shortly after former President Hosni Mubarak was toppled. Mubarak occupied the party’s chairmanship since he became president in 1981 until his ouster.
An Urgent Matters Court had banned the party from running in the coming parliamentary elections on 6 May. The court accused the NDP of appointing “corrupt” governments and issuing “contradictory” laws, adding that the return of the party to political life would “endanger” Egypt.
A detailed ruling published on state-run Al-Ahram on Monday stated that the plaintiff failed to present to court any evidence incriminating NDP leaders in corruption charges. The court added that in that case, the initial decision would have violated such leaders’ right to political participation.
The Court of Appeals added in its Monday ruling that the Urgent Matters Court lacks the proper jurisdiction to look into this case, reported state-run news agency MENA. The court added that only the Administrative Judiciary is entitled to rule on such a case.
Ra’fat Fouda, Cairo University law professor and constitutional expert, had earlier criticised May’s court ruling, describing it as “void of any legal value”.
NDP leaders included Mubarak’s son Gamal, who was the head of the party’s Policies’ Committee, and steel-tycoon Ahmed Ezz, who served as the party’s head. Both are facing several charges for which they could be convicted and therefore banned from running for elections.
The party’s headquarters, near Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, were torched on 28 January 2011 amid deadly anti-Mubarak protests and confrontations with police forces.
On 15 April, the Alexandria Urgent Matters Court banned any Muslim Brotherhood member from running in any of the upcoming elections.
The Brotherhood, which was classified as a terrorist organisation by the cabinet in December, has been the target of an extensive crackdown since former president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster last July.
The 2012 constitution, drafted and issued under Morsi’s rule, banned NDP leaders from political work and prohibited them from running in presidential or legislative elections for a period of 10 years. This article was nevertheless removed from the 2014 constitution.
During a meeting with United States Secretary of State John Kerry, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi announced that the process of the parliamentary elections will begin before 18 July.