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Egypt Passes Parties Law, Sets Date for Parliament Elections

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TEHRAN, March 28 (ICANA) – Egypt’s ruling military council said the first parliamentary elections since the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak will be held in September, and a law has been passed easing restrictions on forming political parties.
Monday, March 28, 2011 10:43:04 PM
Egypt Passes Parties Law, Sets Date for Parliament Elections

A date hasn’t been set for a presidential vote yet, Major General Mamdouh Shahine, a member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, told reporters in Cairo Monday, bloomberg.net reported. He indicated presidential polls would be held after the legislative vote. Mubarak ceded interim authority to the council on Feb. 11 after weeks of protests demanding political freedoms.

Egyptians voted on March 19 on a set of constitutional amendments. About 77 percent endorsed the changes, which include term limits for presidents, fuller judicial oversight of voting and fewer restrictions on presidential candidates. Backers said the amendments will help speed up the transition to civilian rule and help revive the economy. Opponents say the tight timetable will favor established groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and former members of Mubarak’s ruling party.

“The situation now appears to be in line with what the Brotherhood and the other Islamist groups have wanted,” Mustapha K. al-Sayyid, professor of political science at Cairo University, said in an interview. “But the ‘yes’ vote was also a victory for the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which wants to abide by the timetable that it has set.”

The council will continue to run the country’s affairs until there’s a new president, Shahine said. The ruling body said last month that it would rule for six months or until elections are held.

“The supreme council is keen on handing authority over to a president who is freely elected,” he said.

Under the new law, political parties must notify a judicial committee of their creation, Shahine said. Under Mubarak, the body that approved the formation of parties was headed by the speaker of the upper house of parliament, who was also a top official of Mubarak’s ruling party, a main complaint of the opposition.

No party can be created “on a religious basis,” Shahine said. The Brotherhood, which was banned under Mubarak and fielded candidates as independents, is Egypt’s biggest opposition group.

The elections won’t be held under the country’s emergency law, according to Shahine. He didn’t state when the law, which has been in place for nearly three decades, would be lifted.

“The head of the Supreme Council has stressed that parliamentary and presidential elections will not be held under the state of emergency,” Shahine said, adding that any country that has “chaos” must have “exceptional measures to control the issues of thuggery and terrorism.”

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