Democratic Current requests to meet PM to amend parliament, protest laws
Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab - YOUM7/Emad Abdelrahman
By NOURHAN MAGDI

CAIRO: The Democratic Current Coalition, one of the recently formed coalitions for the parliamentary elections, requested to meet with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab to discuss amending the parliament and protest laws, Youm7 reported Friday.

The coalition includes Hamdeen Sabbahi’s Popular Current, Dostor, Karama, and Al-Adl parties.

Since the adoption of the new parliament law, there was ongoing dispute concerning the low representation of parties and the possible absence of financed parties in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

A number of politicians expressed their fears in this regard and demanded the law be amended.

In his statements to The Cairo Post in July, Salafi Nour Party spokesperson Nader Bakar argued about the low number of allocated seats for party candidates compared to single candidates. He is concerned of the return of “political money,” where only those who can pay in corruption will be able to win the elections.

There were also fears regarding the participation of former members of the dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP), especially after a court ruling in July allowed former members to run for parliament and participate in political life.

The NDP is widely considered to have long, corrupt political life in Egypt under the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak, against whom the January 25 Revolution broke out in 2011.

As for the widely criticized protest law that was issued in November 2013, many politicians and human rights activists continuously condemned it as it “curbs freedom of expression and public gatherings.”

According to the infamous law and under the charges of illegal demonstrations, many protesters were incarcerated and are now either standing trial or serving their prison sentences for violating it.

A number of electoral alliances comprising parties and trade unions are preparing for the upcoming parliamentary elections, among which are the Democratic Current Coalition and the Egyptian Front Coalition.

The Democratic current has not decided yet whether it will participate in the elections or not. It is now holding meetings with different coalitions to discuss a possible merging to run for parliament.

There is no possible cooperation between the two coalitions, Democratic current and Egyptian Front, since Sabbahi announced Tuesday that there are no discussions with the Egyptian Front Coalition “as it represents Mubarak-era politics.”

The Egyptian Front Coalition is comprised of eight political parties; the Congress Party, Al-Ghad Party, Tagammu Party, Masr al-Haditha, MasrBaladi, El-Geel Democratic Party, Republican People’s Party, and the Egyptian National Movement. It is headed by Ahmed Shafiq, who was Minister of Aviation in Mubarak’s government and the last Mubarak-appointed Prime Minister. Shafiq came second place in Egypt’s 2012 presidential elections.

Additional reporting by Mostafa Abdel Tawab, and Ghada Atef.

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