Al-Ahram Weekly   Al-Ahram Weekly
13 - 19 July 2000
Issue No. 490
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875 Issues navigation Current Issue Previous Issue Back Issues

 
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Urgent decree

IN RESPONSE to a historic ruling on Saturday by the Supreme Constitutional Court that judges must supervise all polling stations in parliamentary elections, President Hosni Mubarak yesterday decided to send to the People's Assembly and Shura Council a presidential decree amending three laws regulating the electoral process, reports Nevine Khalil.

Mubarak summoned the Shura Council and People's Assembly to convene in extraordinary sessions on Saturday and Sunday to review "urgent issues" as well as the draft decree.

Following his second meeting in 48 hours with concerned cabinet ministers, and after 90 minutes of deliberations yesterday morning, the president was preparing a decree amending Law 73/1956 on the exercise of political rights, Law 38/1972 regulating the election and activities of the People's Assembly and Law 120/1980 regulating the elections and activities of the Shura Council.

Mubarak was also briefed by the Ministry of the Interior on the measures that will be needed to ensure that judges supervise all balloting stations in line with the court's ruling.

"The president affirmed his wish that the election process should be fully compliant with the constitution," reported Minister of Information Safwat El-Sherif after the meeting. "He listened to all constitutional and legislative perspectives regarding Article 88 of the constitution."

Article 88 states that voting in parliamentary elections should be fully monitored by the judiciary.

Making history at the Supreme Court

Bashar vote

SYRIANS overwhelmingly endorsed Bashar Al-Assad as their new president, giving him 97.29 per cent of the vote in a referendum held exactly one month after the death his father, former President Hafez Al-Assad.

Interior Minister Mohamed Harba said on Tuesday that 8.93 million eligible voters had cast their votes -- a 94.6 per cent turnout -- and that 8.69 million voters had said "yes."

In an extraordinary session held on Tuesday the Syrian parliament formally announced that Bashar's swearing-in ceremony will be held on 17 July, after which he will embark on a seven-year term. Bashar, who did not speak in public during the referendum, is expected to deliver a major speech when he is inaugurated.

The referendum was the last in a series of steps that began with the amendment of the constitution within hours of the death of Al-Assad on 10 June. Prominent Arab leaders, including President Hosni Mubarak, sent messages congratulating the new president and wishing him success.

African snub

THE ORGANISATION of African Unity (OAU) ended its summit in the Togolese capital of Lome yesterday with a call for an early resolution to the crisis plaguing the country. The summit also demanded that developed countries take quick action on debt relief and help control the spread of AIDS.

Heavyweight African countries, including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, strongly opposed a plan for African union proposed by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to rival that of the European Union.

Angered that the plan was not even discussed, Gaddafi left a formal session after a speech by Algerian President and outgoing OAU Chairman Abdel-Aziz Bouteflika. Instead of attending a dinner on Monday given by Togo President Gnassingbe Eyadema, Gaddafi held his own dinner in a tent in another hotel to which he invited the presidents of Burkina Faso, Senegal and Chad.

The summit asked Bouteflika to remain as a mediator in the Ethiopia- Eritrea conflict.

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