Presidential elections law contradicts new constitution: constitutional expert
Constitutional law professor Mohamed Nour Farahat - YOUM7/Sami Waheeb

CAIRO: Constitutional law professor Mohamed Nour Farahat said Sunday that the presidential elections law contradicts the constitution, particularly the article that grants immunity to the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC).

During an interview with Al Tahrir TV, Farahat added that this article gives the impression that it was drafted to benefit “a certain presidential candidate.”

Farahat posted on his personal Facebook page on Saturday a statement asking why people should care to have a new constitution if it is going to be violated by the interim administration by granting SPEC decisions immunity.

He wrote that the law also set limits for campaign financing at 20 million EGP ($2.87 million), and its terms state that a candidate cannot accept foreign donations and can only accept two percent of his campaign’s financing from local donations. Farahat wondered, in his statement, where a candidate would receive the other 98 percent to finance his campaign, “unless the candidate was already rich.”

Regarding an article preventing suspects being held in custody from running in the elections, Farahat said that this article contradicts the constitution as well because according to the law a person is innocent until proven guilty. He noted that this article was drafted for the former presidents Hosni Mubarak and Mohamed Morsi, and they both should not be feared because “the people will not choose them.”

During an interview with Al-Arabiya Al-Hadath on Sunday, State Council judicial advisor Amr Gomaa also said the article is a “constitutional violation” because suspects are innocent until proven guilty.

Farahat further noted that granting immunity to the SPEC would lead to instability because that runs contrary to Article 97 of the constitution, “and any judge cannot accept it.”

Gomaa also said that granting immunity to SPEC decisions is “constitutionally invalid and contrary to constitution articles,” because the SPEC is an administrative committee, not judicial, and its decisions can be appealed before the judiciary.

Presidential advisor for constitutional matters Ali Awad has reportedly said that immunity is necessary in order to hold parliamentary elections on time. Awad said the roadmap can be modified because it is not a constitutional declaration, but a political one, and has been amended before when the government decided to hold presidential elections before parliamentary elections.

During an interview with the CBC television channel Sunday, Awad said that controversy around the SPEC’s immunity “was expected” and the presidency is interested in improving the presidential elections law and removing “any constitutional violations.”

Farahat called upon interim President Adly Mansour to abolish the immunity of SPEC decisions, to allow the Supreme Constitutional Court to look into appeals for a short period, and to allow candidates to receive unlimited local donations.

Additional reporting by Abdel Wahab al-Gindy, Ahmed Abdel Rahman, Ahmed Zeyada and Samir Hosni.

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