- Middle East/North Africa
The Presidential Elections Commission’s decision to reinstate former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq into the presidential race is “shameful,” according to the MP who initially proposed the amendments to the law on political rights.
In a press statement on Thursday, Wasat Party spokesperson Essam Sultan said the commission’s decision to accept Shafiq’s appeal after he was excluded from the race on Tuesday and refer the Political Isolation Law 17/2012 to the Supreme Constitutional Court is a “threefold scandal.” First, he said, the deadline for accepting appeals to candidate exclusions ended more than a week ago, and therefore no complaints should have been allowed. He said the commission did not announce that it was opening the door to appeals for all presidential candidates, making this option available to Shafiq alone.
Sultan fails to mention that the deadline for exclusions had also passed and that all candidates excluded on 17 April were given 48 hours to appeal their rejections at that time, well before Shafiq was ruled ineligible due to the new law.
He said the second aspect of this scandal was that the “Presidential Elections Commission only has administrative jurisdiction” and therefore no right to refer the law to the Supreme Constitutional Court.
Third, added Sultan, the commission cannot challenge the constitutionality of a law based on an appeal of an administrative decision, as it did in this instance. According to Article 29 of the Constitutional Court Law, he said, constitutionality should only be challenged during the consideration of lawsuits.
He said the acceptance of Shafiq’s appeal shows that the elections commission “took on the role of Ahmed Shafiq’s lawyer and defender.”
“All of this is happening while we are still at the beginning of the journey, so what will the Presidential Elections Commission do concerning Shafiq during the electoral process, ballot counting and announcement of the results?” Sultan asked.
Shawky al-Sayed, a constitutional law professor and Shafiq’s lawyer, told state-owned news agency MENA on Wednesday that the commission is working in accordance with the law, and that the re-inclusion was a purely independent action.
Sayed said he based his appeal on the unconstitutionality of the legal amendments preventing Shafiq from running, as well as his legal status as a candidate prior to the passage of the Political Exclusion Law.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm