Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1317, (27 October - 2 November 2016)
Tuesday,24 October, 2017
Issue 1317, (27 October - 2 November 2016)

Ahram Weekly

MPs standing hangs in the balance

Next week parliament is expected to decide whether the membership of MP Ahmed Mortada Mansour should be invalidated, reports Gamal Essam El-Din

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Al-Ahram Weekly

A special parliamentary committee is expected to conclude a report on whether the membership of MP Ahmed Mortada Mansour should be annulled.

The report comes after parliament’s Committee of Constitutional and Legislative Affairs failed to reach a decision on the issue last month. Bahaaeddin Abu Shokka, the Wafd Party’s secretary-general and appointed MP who was re-elected chairman of the committee last week, told reporters that members of the committee were highly divided on the issue which, as a result, was referred to Parliament Speaker Ali Abdel-Aal to take a decision.

In July the Court of Cassation ruled that Ahmed Mansour’s parliamentary membership should be invalidated and that his rival in last year’s elections in Giza governorate’s Dokki and Agouza district Amr Al-Shobaki should be declared the winner.

The court’s ruling was based on an appeal filed by Al-Shobaki. The court said a second vote count showed that while Al-Shobaki received 21,898 votes, Mansour collected 21,597 votes. “This means that Al-Shobaki led Mansour by 301 votes and for this reason he should be declared the winner of Agouza and Dokki district in Giza governorate,” the ruling said.

The ruling was sent to parliament in accordance with Article 107 of the constitution. Internal bylaws (Article 386) stipulate that the Cassation Court’s rulings on election appeals should be discussed first by the Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee. “The committee should have the final say on each ruling, but only after it holds a hearing and hears the MP defend himself,” Article 386 states.

Abu Shoqqa told reporters that while a group of MPs, led by independent MP Mortada Mansour, Ahmed Mansour’s father, rejected the ruling against the son, another group led by high-profile lawyer and independent MP Alaa Abdel-Moneim insisted that the ruling should be implemented by parliament immediately.

Mortada Mansour accused Abdel-Moneim’s camp of receiving bribes from Al-Shobaki to vote in favour of cancelling the membership of his son Ahmed. Mansour also accused the Court of Cassation of issuing two contradictory rulings. “One of them ruled that my son Ahmed is the winner while the second claimed that Al-Shobaki emerged victorious,” said Mansour.

Abdel-Moneim told Al-Ahram Weekly that “the constitution is clear that it is the Court of Cassation that has the final say on election appeals and that its rulings on these appeals should be implemented by parliament immediately. So when parliament fails to take a quick decision on the anti-Mansour appeal, it sends a bad message that it does not respect the constitution and that it was intimidated by the Mansour clan,” said Abdel-Moneim.

During parliament’s Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee’s meeting on the Al-Shobaki appeal last month, Abdel-Moneim and Mortada Mansour exchanged personal insults that left MPs divided into two camps without reaching a conclusive decision.

Parliament Deputy Speaker Al-Sayed Al-Sherif confirmed that he was entrusted by speaker Abdel-Aal to reach a final decision on Al-Shobaki’s appeal. “A special parliamentary committee formed in this respect will hold a meeting with the bureau of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee to discuss the issue in a neutral way,” Al-Sherif told the Weekly.

Al-Sherif indicated that Al-Shobaki’s appeal “will be discussed in light of the constitution and parliament’s internal bylaws. “I hope we will be able to reach a final decision this week or next week.”

Abdel-Moneim told the Weekly that “the committee led by Al-Sherif will only take a vote on Al-Shobaki’s appeal and then decide that a report on it be referred to parliament to be discussed in a plenary session. The Cassation Court’s ruling is clear that Ahmed Mortada Mansour’s parliamentary membership should be annulled and that he should be replaced by Al-Shobaki,” Abdel-Moneim said.

Ahmed Saadeddin, parliament’s secretary-general, disclosed last month that the number of appeals filed against the results of elections stood at 251. “All of these were filed in the Court of Cassation in line with the constitution,” said Saadeddin, adding that “the court issued rulings on these appeals within 30 days from the date in which the final result of the election was announced.”

Abdel-Moneim Al-Oleimi, a veteran independent MP, told the Weekly that as far as he knows, the Court of Cassation ruled that the membership of around 50 MPs should be invalidated. Al-Oleimi, a member of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, indicated that the court had said the election in the districts of these MPs “was rife with grave irregularities that had dramatically impacted the result of the poll. The biggest irregularity was that the vote count was not completed in a correct way and that when a new count was held, the result of the poll changed in favour of the rival candidate who filed an appeal,” Al-Oleimi said.

Oleimi indicated that the problem with Al-Shobaki’s appeal is that two different rulings were issued by the Cassation Court. “The first ruling said no grave irregularities had impacted the result of the ballot in Dokki and Agouza districts in Giza governorate, while the second said the final vote count was not correct and that a new count showed that Al-Shobaki came out ahead of Ahmed Mortada Mansour by 301 votes,” said Al-Oleimi, indicating the appeal might be sent back to the Cassation Court “to unify the two rulings”.

The Court of Cassation, however, said in a statement last week that its first ruling on Dokki district was not related to Al-Shobaki’s appeal. “Al-Shobaki’s appeal was investigated by judges who launched a new vote count of all ballot boxes in Dokki and Agouza, with the final result showing that Al-Shobaki led Ahmed Mortada Mansour by 301 votes. For this reason, Mansour’s parliamentary membership should be invalidated and Al-Shobaki declared the winner of the vote,” the court’s statement said.

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