A State Council-affiliated committee of senior judges advocated for the unconstitutionality of the Health Ministry’s demand for fees to medically examine candidates who had already undergone the tests when the application door was first opened in February.
The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) will issue its final verdict on the matter on Monday, as it is not obliged to follow the committee’s recommendations. However, elections were postponed last March as the SCC adhered to the committee’s judgment on the unconstitutionality of parliamentary laws.
Egypt’s parliamentary elections could be delayed again, if the SCC upholds the rejection of medical fees paid by candidates who completed their applications according to a 15 September deadline. Under such circumstances, and in order to guarantee equal chances for all candidates, the door must be re-opened to receive new applications.
The electoral alliance known as Sahwet Misr, headed by Abdul Gelil Mostafa, had previously challenged the new costs of medical examination requirements set by the Supreme Electoral Commission (SEC) for candidates.
“We could not submit to procedures that harm the transparency and smooth process of the elections by compromising the principle of equal chances between candidates,” Shawet Misr said in a Saturday statement.
The argument is that candidates who paid the fees, of up to EGP 3,000, the first time, should be exempted from the costs of running medical tests for the second time, following the SEC’s taking in more candidate applications this September.
Sahwet Misr has claimed that those additional expenses were an obstacle for their candidates, and announced their withdrawal from the elections on 11 September. The group had addressed their objections to the medical process with the SEC several times, and met with SEC members a day before the party’s withdrawal.
On the other hand, the SEC’s official spokesperson, Omar Marwan, explained that it was not within the commission’s legal authority to object to court decisions.
Sawhet Misr stated it was “ready for all possibilities, but [hoped] for a fair decision by the court”.
The issue of medical tests has been ongoing for several months, mostly due to the expenses candidates have to bear. When the SEC invited candidates to apply in September, it said it was going to keep old applications and accept medical tests that had previously been submitted.
However, in the middle of the process, the Administrative Court said that the SEC cannot proceed using the medical reports submitted for the earlier planned elections, obliging candidates to undergo new medical check-ups. The SEC had to re-adjust its schedule and further extend the application deadline.