The Shura Council has passed an article granting the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) the right to set election dates. The law change on Sunday was made in response to a High Constitutional Court decision in May that deemed four articles in the parliamentary election law unconstitutional. The president has the authority to call referendums and can set the date of elections if the House of Representative (lower house of parliament) is dissolved, the article adds.
Articles about voting issues in the Arab Republic of Egypt.
The Egyptian Shura Council’s Sunday decision to delay the voting rights of police and military personnel has stirred up debates and controversy in the dispute-stricken country. The upper house of parliament made the decision only a few days after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that security personnel should vote in elections since the new constitution says “all citizens have the right to vote.” Based on a request by Assistant Defense Minister for Constitutional and Legal Affairs Mamdouh Shahin, the Shura Council on Sunday agreed in principle to prepare the voting database of police and military personnel in a number of distant stages.
The Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee of the Shura Council (the upper house of parliament endowed with legislative authority until the election of the House of Representatives) agreed Sunday to grant Egyptian military and police personnel the right to vote in elections by July 2020. Deputy Defence Minister Major Mamdouh Shahin asked the committee to exclude army and police personnel from the upcoming election voter lists, asserting that disclosing personal information of military personnel in voting databases would be a threat to national security. Shahin submitted an amendment to the Shura Council which proposes exempting army and police personnel from automatic updates of voting databases and establishing a different system for adding their information – to be agreed upon by the armed forces and police authorities – which takes into account the information’s confidential nature.
Holding parliamentary polls has become a complex issue once again. On 26 May, the High Constitutional Court (HCC) declared 13 articles of two draft laws regulating elections – which had been approved by the Shura Council, parliament’s upper house – to be unconstitutional. According to article 177 of Egypt’s new constitution, five political laws – including two laws regulating elections – drafted by parliament must be subject to prior review by the HCC. If the court finds any of the proposed legislation unconstitutional, it must be sent back to parliament for amendment. The HCC ruling throws a massive spanner into the works once again. It is the second such ruling in six months, making the holding of parliamentary polls this year a tall order.
The recent declaration of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) to allow police and military personnel to vote in elections has drawn controversy among legal and political experts in the country. The courts ruling on Saturday deemed a ban against security members from voting “unconstitutional,” citing the new constitution approved in December 2012. For decades, security members have been prevented from voting based on a law dating back to 1976. The ban was justified as a move to keep the military and the security apparatuses off politics. The SCC, however, said that such a ban violated the country’s new constitution that states that “all” citizens have the right to vote.
Egyptian Islamists and former members of the nation’s military voiced concern Sunday about the potential pitfalls stemming from a decision by the country’s top constitutional court that would allow members of the armed forces and police to vote in the nation’s elections. For decades, a long-running legal tradition in Egypt’s army and police barred soldiers, conscripts and members of the security from voting while in the service. The ban, which was written into law in 1976, was widely seen as a move designed to keep both the military and the security agencies out of politics—despite the fact that the country was run by former generals. The Supreme Constitutional Court said Saturday the ban violated the country’s new constitution, which stipulates that all citizens have the right to vote. The court also shot down 12 other articles of the election laws drafted by Egypt’s Islamist-led legislature, saying they too went against the charter.
The Administrative Court for the State Council rejected a lawsuit on Tuesday that demanded a thorough review of the electoral register, the use of an electronic vote-counting system and replacing the use of a fingerprint to cast a vote. Judge Sami Darwish, vice-president of the State Council rejected the lawsuit that called for removing the names of people who died, policemen and soldiers from the electoral register, according to state-run Al-Ahram.
Egyptian secularists and rights groups criticized election laws approved by parliament that allow parties to use religious slogans in campaigns and drops a requirement to put women candidates high on their lists. The Islamist-led Shura Council, the upper house of parliament and the only one functioning after courts shut down the lower chamber, yesterday approved a political rights law that dropped a ban on religious slogans. It was replaced by a clause that prohibits slogans involving “gender and religious discrimination.” The council also gave initial approval for amendments to election laws that could give women lower positions on electoral lists. The assembly’s Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee agreed that each candidate list should include at least one woman, without stipulating how high she should be placed. The previous version required at least one female candidate in the top half of the list.
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi today said he expected parliamentary elections to be held in October after delays caused by a court decision. The delay could lead to heightened tensions over the summer between Mr Morsi’s supporters and a broad opposition movement that wants him out of power. There have been regular protests against his government since November, many of them violent. Mr Morsi had tried to fast-track new parliamentary elections last month, ordering them to begin at the end of April and continue over two months. But an administrative court ruled that the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament that is the only legislative body at the moment because the lower house was dissolved last year, did not properly consult the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) on revisions made to an elections law.
Egypt: Supreme Administrative Court postpones appeal against elections suspension | Daily News Egypt
The Supreme Administrative Court’s appeals district postponed on Sunday the government’s appeal of an Administrative Judiciary Court ruling suspending elections to 7 April. The Judiciary Court had ruled to suspend the upcoming House of Representatives elections and referred the parliamentary election law to the Supreme Constitutional Court earlier in March. The court suspected the election law was unconstitutional and referred it to the Constitutional Court for review, meaning that elections for the lower house of parliament, initially scheduled to start on 22 April, would be postponed until the Supreme Constitutional Court deems the electoral law constitutional.