Groups call for protest to demand banning former NDP members from elections

An Egyptian revolutionary umbrella group on Sunday called for a mass demonstration Friday to protest against old regime members being allowed to run in the parliamentary elections, slated to start late November.

A statement by Thuwar (revolutionaries), a group of several revolution youth coalitions and independent activists, urged Egyptians to organize marches starting from mosques in Cairo and other governorates under the slogan "the Friday of Political Isolation."

Thuwar comprises the Union of Revolutionary Youth,  Masr al-Mahrousa Revolutionaries, Free Egypt, Time for Action and the National Association for Change Youth.

The statement said the demonstrators will call for removing members of the former ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) from the political arena and granting Egyptian expatriates the right to vote.

The group also voiced support for recent strikes by Telecom Egypt staff and public transport workers, saying it will work on releasing detained activists.

Since authorities began receiving parliament candidacy applications on 12 October, application offices have seen a remarkably high turnout by former NDP members. The deadline for submitting applications is today, Monday.

Egyptian revolutionary groups fear that large numbers of former NDP members could win elections through bribes, which had been a tool they used to win elections under the reign of toppled President Hosni Mubarak.

The next parliament will be tasked with electing a panel to draft the country's new constitution, which adds to the possibility that groups loyal to the former regime might shape Egypt's political future.

On 4 October, the Egyptian government, in response to mounting pressure by revolutionary groups, approved amendments to the 1952 Treachery Law, which would deny former NDP members their political rights and occupations for five years. But many doubt the interim government's intention to enforce the law. It previously made initial changes to the law in July, also due to political pressure.

Legal experts believe that the law, if applied, would lead to the removal of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, a former NDP member.

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