Controversy over ruling might allow NDP members in parliament
Boats sail past the burned out headquarters of former President Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party (NDP) - REUTERS
By NOURHAN MAGDI

CAIRO: Controversy aroused among politicians after a ruling to ban the members of Hosni Mubarak’s dissolved ruling party from running for Parliament was overturned Monday, according to news websites.

A number of political powers expressed their anger over Monday’s decision which would allow the members of the dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP), who are widely considered to have long corrupted political life in Egypt, to run for the upcoming parliamentary elections.

Amin Awad, a member of Dostour Party in Damietta, considered the ruling as an indication that the former regime, against which the January 25 Revolution protested, was not actually toppled, reported Watan newspaper. Awad saw that the decision to allow former NDP members to participate again in political activities through the coming elections is like granting them “legal legitimacy” inside the parliament.

A leader in the Salafi Front, Hisham Kamal told Masr el-Arabiya that the NDP was not prevented from participation in political life in Egypt, despite its dissolution. “They have merged with different parties,” Kamal added.

Approaching the parliamentary elections, the fear among politicians rise as the possibility of former NDP members and Brotherhood members participating in the elections increased after the newly adopted Parliament Law allowed more seats for single candidates than listed candidates.

Nader Bakar, the spokesperson for the Salafi Nour Party, expressed his concerns about the new law and criticized the large number of seats allocated to the individual system in comparison to the list system. “This way, there will be no equal opportunities,” Bakar told The Cairo Post in June 13.

The decision met considerable support from human rightists. Marget Azer, a member of the National Council for Human Rights and a former NDP member said in her statements to Masr el-Arabiya news website that “the first ruling [issued to deprive the NDP members from the political scene] was violating the constitution which stipulated to not exclude any citizen from political life; unless due to criminal offences.”

The charge of “corrupting political life” upon which the earlier verdict was issued in May to ban the former members of the dissolved NDP from participating in politics is “loose, and non evidential, this crime has no specific definition in the law,” said human rights Lawyer Mahmoud Badawy to Masr el-Arabiya.

The first ruling to ban NDP members was issued in May after a lawsuit filed by a lawyer demanded banning all dissolved NDP members from participating in the elections. Her claim was based on a ruling issued by the High Administrative Court in April 2011 to dissolve the NDP and to confiscate all its money and assets.

In its reasoning, the Cairo Court of Appeal for Urgent Matters that overturned the ruling Monday said the first degree court of Urgent Matters, which initially issued the banning verdict, is not competent to deal with such cases, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm.

It further added that the first ruling was based on insufficient evidence to convict NDP members as long as there are no issued judicial verdicts that would ban them from participating in political life.

The NDP was the former ruling party under former President Hosni Mubarak, against whom wide demonstrations broke out during the January 25 Revolution. The NDP headquarters was burnt and stormed during the revolution. The party was deemed by a broad spectrum of Egyptians as a corrupted state-affiliated body.

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