- Middle East/North Africa
The National Salvation Front has submitted a draft law on the exercising of political rights to President Mohamed Morsy.
Front member Abdel Ghaffar Shokr told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Thursday that the group submitted the draft law almost a week ago to Pakinam al-Sharqawy, the presidential assistant for political affairs, after turning down outgoing Vice President Mahmoud Mekkiy’s invitation to a national dialogue.
Freedom and Justice Party member and former Shura Council majority leader Ali Fath al-Bab took part in drafting the law four years ago, Shokr said. The committee that drafted the law included experts including Abdel Moneim al-Mashat and Ali al-Sawy, political science professor Negad al-Borai, activists and representatives of civil society organizations.
According to the draft law, the High Elections Commission would have powers to guarantee international standards of integrity for elections. Nine judges would serve on the commission for three years and would not be able to take any other posts during their term. The commission would also divide electoral districts according to population, and would review the distribution periodically.
The draft law also stipulates that governmental authorities would not be allowed to supervise elections. Employees would receive special training in running elections, and representatives from different political parties and civil society organizations would be trained in elections monitoring.
The interior minister would also be tasked with delegating the required number of police officers to secure polling stations, working under the supervision of the commission. The officers would be given orders by the commission head or deputies.
Elections should employee the party list system, the draft law holds. At least one woman should be included among the first four candidates listed per party, and a minimum of two women must be included in the first eight candidates listed.
Article 231 of the recently adopted Constitution mandates that in the upcoming parliamentary elections, two thirds of all seats will be voted in via the list-based system, and one third via the individual candidate system. Parties and independents are both allowed to run in elections.
The draft law also stipulates a minimum age of 21 years to run for municipal councils, 25 years for the House of Representatives and 35 years for the Shura Council. All candidates would also be required to meet defined educational requirements.
The draft law bans use of religious slogans during electoral campaigns. It also bans offering aid to build, restore or expand places of worship and social centers. If this rule is violated, two thirds of the electoral commission would be required to agree to drop the candidate from the ballot. The candidate would have the right to contest that decision.
President Mohamed Morsy is expected to ratify the draft law so that the Shura Council can vote on it.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm