Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Court repeals ruling barring former NDP members from running in elections

The Supreme Administrative Court on Monday repealed a Mansoura Administrative Court ruling barring former members of the disbanded National Democratic Party (NDP) from running in upcoming parliamentary elections.

In its rationale, the Mansoura Administrative Court had said that those members had rigged previous elections and therefore should be deprived of voting rights.

Now, two weeks ahead of the elections, 19 additional lawsuits have been filed against former NDP members in Mansoura. The suits seek to ban them from running in the elections.

Yousry Abdel Kareem, head of the High Elections Committee’s technical office, said that the committee does not have a database of NDP members, and that no court ruling can be applied to someone who cannot defend himself.

The Mansoura court ruling has not yet been received by the committee. “There is a possibility that the ruling could be challenged,” Abdel Kareem said.

Informed sources have said that additional confusion emerged when the Mansoura court issued a ruling on Thursday against excluding Tareq Talaat Mostafa, a former NDP member, from running in the elections in the absence of a constitutionally valid reason.

The Alexandria Administrative Court also rejected a lawsuit demanding NDP members be excluded from candidacy lists, privately owned newspaper Al-Shorouk reported Sunday.

The court clarified that NDP members are citizens who should not be deprived of political rights unless they are or have been convicted of a crime.

On Sunday, the Mansoura Administrative Court is to review 19 new challenges to NDP nominations in Daqahlia.

Revolutionary youth groups celebrated the Mansoura court ruling Saturday in several governorates. The April 6 Youth Movement, Kefaya and the youth wing of the Democratic Front Party described the ruling as historic. Politicians expect it to completely change the electoral map.

Democratic Alliance parties, as well as Islamist parties and groups, welcomed the ruling. Party leaders said it unmasked Prime Minister Essam Sharaf’s government, which has refused to issue legislation to isolate former NDP members politically.

Legal expert Yehia al-Gamal said the ruling would not apply to all members, only to those whom lawsuits were filed against. It could also be used as a basis for filing similar lawsuits.


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