Egypt tightens rules for presidential election
CAIRO — Egyptian authorities have enacted a new law that makes it impossible for results in the upcoming presidential election to be disputed in court, a presidential advisor said Saturday.
The measure was approved by the country’s interim President Adly Mansour as part of final preparations for a presidential vote this spring. The presumed front-runner, Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah Sisi, has yet to declare his candidacy.
The vote was to have been held by mid-April, but the weeks-long delay in wroking out the election law makes that highly unlikely.
Mansour’s legal affairs advisor, Ali Awad, told a news conference that the new law maintains the legal immunity of the High Elections Committee, the main electoral body. The provision to forbid legal challenges had been hotly debated, but Awad said Egypt’s “current circumstances” — an apparent reference to continuing turmoil — justified the step.
The new law also bans a presidential candidacy by anyone who has been previously indicted on criminal charges. Candidates need the signed approval of either 20 lawmakers or 25,000 eligible voters from across the country to get in the race. Also, people holding dual citizenship or with foreign parentage are barred from running.
Candidates can spend more money than previously, with campaign spending limits doubled to 20 million Egyptian pounds, or $2.8 million.
So far only one contender, liberal politician Hamdeen Sabahi, has formally declared his candidacy. Sisi, whose backers are urging him to run, said last week that he would not “turn his back” on the wishes of the majority.
He would have to step down as defense minister in order to do so. The electoral body is expected to soon set a deadline for candidates to declare their intentions.
Hassan is a special correspondent.
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