Thursday,14 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1364, (12 - 18 October 2017)
Thursday,14 December, 2017
Issue 1364, (12 - 18 October 2017)

Ahram Weekly

Presidential election commission formed

Members of the National Electoral Commission have now been named, reports Gamal Essam El-Din

President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree naming the members of the National Electoral Commission’s (NEC) board
President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree naming the members of the National Electoral Commission’s (NEC) board

Preparations for the 2018 presidential election gained momentum on Tuesday when President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi issued a decree naming the members of the National Electoral Commission’s (NEC) board.

Decree 503/2017 ratified Lashin Ibrahim, deputy head of the Court of Cassation, as chair of the NEC and Mahmoud Al-Sherif, second deputy head of the Court of Cassation, as deputy chair.

The NEC’s 10-member board also includes Mahmoud Abdel-Hamid and Yasser Ahmed Al-Maabadi, heads of the courts of appeals in Cairo and Tanta; Ahmed Abdel-Halim Hassan Abboud and Faris Saad Handal from the State Council; Hani Mohamed Ali and Abdel-Sallam Ramadan from the State Cases Authority and Mohamed Abu Deif Pasha Khalil and Khaled Youssef Ibrahim from the Administrative Prosecution Authority.

Ibrahim told journalists on Tuesday the NEC planned to meet the following day to select the board’s executive director.

“The name of the director, who will be a judge, should be selected as soon as possible and sent to the president to be ratified. In its meeting on Wednesday the NEC will also prepare for the by-election in the Sohag constituency in Girga.

Girga’s MP Herakl Wefki died in the summer, triggering a by-election.

Under Article 208 of the 2014 constitution the NEC is mandated with supervising presidential, parliamentary and municipal polls and referendums. It makes the NEC responsible for preparing voter lists, setting constituency boundaries, setting campaign rules and regulating funding and media coverage, facilitating voting and announcing the final results.

Article 209 of the constitution says the board of the NEC must include 10 members as follows: two from the Court of Cassation, heads of two appeal courts, two deputy heads of the State Council, two deputy heads of the State Cases Authority and two deputy heads of the Administrative Prosecution Authority.

Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Omar Marawan said earlier this month that once the NEC was operational the Presidential Election Commission and the Supreme Electoral Commission can be dispensed with.

Al-Sisi’s decree was issued a day after a number of MPs affiliated with parliament’s National Security and Defence Committee called on the president to run for a second four-year term.

Committee head Kamal Amer told reporters Monday that members of the committee had prepared a message of “appreciation, confidence and support” to send to Al-Sisi, calling on him to contest the 2018 presidential election.

Amer, a former chief of Military Intelligence, said “the committee will lead a campaign mobilising support for President Al-Sisi in next year’s election.”

“After four years in office, President Al-Sisi has been able to restore stability and build Egypt’s relations with other countries in a way that serves our national and economic interests,” said Amer. “Members of the committee want Al-Sisi to complete his programme which is focused on keeping Egypt as a civilian state based on democratic values, social justice and religious tolerance.”

Meanwhile, In Favour of Rebuilding Egypt, a campaign calling on citizens to re-elect President Al-Sisi is being spearheaded by the Free Egyptians and the Future of Homeland Parties. The campaign’s organisers say they will coordinate with MPs in order to urge President Al-Sisi to contest next year’s election.

Future of Homeland head Ashraf Rashad says the party’s provincial offices will be mobilised to support Al-Sisi’s re-election. “We will collect as many signatures as possible on a petition urging President Al-Sisi to run,” said Rashad.

President Al-Sisi has yet to officially announce he will be standing for re-election though on several occasions he has said he will stand if that is the will of the people.

Other names that might appear on the ballot paper also remain a mystery. Mohamed Anwar Al-Sadat, head of the Reform and Development Party, has expressed a desire to stand but only if the NEC offers guarantees that state authorities will remain neutral and state-owned media refrain from campaigns of character assassination.

“In the presidential poll no candidate should be above criticism as long as the criticism is lawful and not based on defamation,” Al-Sadat said in a TV interview.

Ahmed Shafik, a former presidential candidate and former prime minister, also announced he might run in next year’s elections. The National Movement, Shafik’s party, says he will make a final decision in January. 

presidential elections are expected to be held in May or June 2018. Article 142 of Egypt’s 2014 constitution stipulates presidential candidates must first secure the endorsement of a minimum of 20 MPs or 25,000 citizens from across at least 15 governorates in order for their names to appear on the ballot paper.

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