By Aya Nader
State Council revised a new fifty-nine article law governing Egypt’s presidential elections and sent it to interim President Adly Mansour for final review on Monday.
Constitutional expert Ibrahim Darwish criticised those who drafted the law and said that it is “full of flaws.”
Article 1 states that a presidential candidate must have a university degree, and must be born to Egyptian parents and that neither the candidate’s parents nor his or her spouse may hold dual nationality.
One of the faults of the draft law, Darwish said is that there is no mention that the candidate’s family members, including children, must not hold dual nationality, based on Article 141 of the new constitution.
Darwish said the law does not determine the maximum age of a candidate. “We could find a 65 year old running like this,” he said.
Article 2 stipulates that the candidate running for president should have the support of 25,000 citizens from 15 different governorates. Supporting more than one candidate is prohibited.
Citizens who have the right to vote and do not show up at the elections “without an excuse” are to be fined EGP 500, according to Article 42.
According to Article 19, all government media should display campaign material equally among candidates. The amended law raises the ceiling for campaign spending from EGP 10m. In the case of a run-off, the ceiling will be limited to EGP 2m.
Article 23 prohibits candidates from acquiring funds from foreign institutions or individuals, or risk facing a minimum of two years in prison. Candidates can obtain donations from citizens or their political parties. They will have to submit a detailed statement of the money they spent on campaigns within 15 days of the date final election results are announced. The Central Auditing Organization is to revise these statements.
Campaigning starts 30 days before the elections day and ends two days before it, according to Article 17.
Whoever hides or ruins any campaign flyer “with the intention of changing the truth” or “the repetition or halting of the elections” will be sentenced to a minimum of two years imprisonment, according to Article 50. Article 51 stipulates that whoever uses force to prohibit someone from electing, or to choose a certain candidate, is to be sentenced to minimum six months in prison.
A candidate is to pay only EGP 1,000 for a post elections campaign cleanup, but Darwish said, “To clean all the governorates, one needs at least EGP 1m.”
Article 26 states that the voting will last one day under the supervision of the Presidential Electoral Commission (PEC), an independent five-member judicial body headed by the president of the Supreme Constitutional Court, which will also form voting stations committees and set rules governing the voting of Egyptians living abroad.
The PEC will decide election procedures, according to Article 9. A candidate’s request to run for president is filed to the head of the PEC, according to Article 11.
Article 13 states that the PEC wil also look into the candidates’ requests and make sure they match the terms of running. The following article states that candidates who were excluded have the right to appeal within two days.
Each candidate is allowed to appoint a representative in each voting station, according to Article 29.
Voting would still take place even if there is only one candidate, states Article 35, and the candidate who attains the “majority of votes” wins the elections, says Article 28. If no candidate attains that, the candidates with the highest votes will re-run after at least seven days.
Article 37 states that the result of the elections will be announced only by the PEC, within five days of receiving polling stations’ reports in the official newspaper.
When the law is endorsed, the PEC will hold a meeting to begin the process of planning the upcoming polls, according to state-owned Al-Ahram.
The new law cancelled the presidential law 174 of 2005.
According to the new constitution, the Supreme Constitutional Court doesn’t have the right to supervise the new presidential law before it is issued by Mansour.
“This wasn’t the court’s specialization from the beginning,” said Darwish. “Its’ only job is constitutional supervision.”
When Interim President Adly Mansour announced on 26 January that presidential elections will take place before a parliament is elected, he indicated that he would amend legislation dealing with political rights and presidential elections.
Hamdeen Sabahy, who also ran for president in 2012, is the only person officially running for presidential elections.