Around 400 parliamentary, political, and media figures signed a petition Saturday to support the Student Union Federation board members who have opposed a decision by the Ministry of Higher Education that has vacated the results of the election of the federation’s board members and called for a new round of voting.
The petition called on President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Prime Minister Sherif Ismail to immediately intervene and rescind the “chaotic” ministerial decision and condemned the decision of the high electoral committee that directly watched the election process.
The petition alleges that the decision disregards the students’ will to choose their representatives and will extend the gap between students and the current political system.
According to the petition, the students have not granted legitimacy to the students’ union regulations list as they were not involved in its drafting. Nevertheless, they chose to participate in the elections to enrich the democratic process within the university.
The petition claims that there is an inherent contradiction internal to the supervising committee’s actions in the current conflict. As the body that was to ensure the legitimacy of the electoral process through the enforcement of the procedures, the committee has now sanctioned itself in an ad hoc manner pointing to its own error in oversight, according to the petition.
The most prominent figures who signed the petition were satirist Bassem Youssef, former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy, lawyer Khaled Ali, and activist Asmaa Mahfouz.
The call for an appeal was issued by Zagazig University’s new head of the student union, claiming that the former head of the student union voted in his place in the elections for the president of the general federation.
According to current federation President Abdullah Anwar, this was all planned from the beginning since the committee supervising the elections should have banned the former head of Zagazing University from voting as long as is not enlisted at the university.
There was a low turnout in the students’ union election earlier in November. The union was banned concomitantly with the Muslim Brotherhood, when university students organised protests in department faculties to support the group.
Several of the university protests ended with violent dispersals, with injuries among students and security forces often reported in addition to student arrests and suspensions .