Mubarak verdict creates ‘congestion’ in parliament elections: politicians
Hosni Mubarak - YOUM7 (Archive)
By AMIRA EL-FEKKI

CAIRO: Following the corruption acquittal and dropping of murder charges against former President Hosni Mubarak, his security deputies and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adly, many political forces expressed extreme disappointment by taking to the streets Saturday evening.

Politicians for their part conveyed their concerns over an uncertain future for the political scene.

The Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP), headed by Mohamed Abou el-Ghar, issued a press statement following the verdict in which it did not explicitly criticize the judicial process, but recalled the purposes of the 2011 January 25 Revolution and the demands of the people to hold the former regime responsible for decades of political corruption.

“We vow to honor the martyrs of the revolution, and we promise the people of this nation we will continue to fight for their rights to achieve the changes they hoped to see: freedom, social justice and human dignity,” ESDP said Saturday.

ESDP Vice President Farid Zahran told The Cairo Post Monday the verdict was expected due to influence from the current regime on media and its support of the 2013 Protest Law, which paved the way for “the return of the old regime.”

“Our party will continue to object to the current policies, but we should all face the reality that the coming phase will be filled with political congestion, that the next parliament will be Mubarak’s and that his men might even return to serve positions in the State,” Zahran said.

According to Abou el-Ghar’s statement to Al-Masry Al-Youm Sunday, the public is extremely disappointed, which could have two negative outcomes: the popularity of President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi declining, and sympathy for the Muslim Brotherhood. Abou el-Ghar added that the verdict does not cancel the fact Mubarak and his regime committed countless violations, and that they were responsible for empowering the Brotherhood.

Kefaya, a major Mubarak opposition movement active during his presidency, issued a press statement through the movement’s coordinator Abdul Rahman el-Gohary, in which it described the verdict as a “shock,” and added that the ruling promotes corruption and death because it guarantees unaccountability, Al-Shorouq reported Sunday.

The leftist April 6 Youth Movement denounced the verdict and called for more protests in public squares, as did the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy (NASL), an Islamist coalition supporting Mubarak’s fellow imprisoned former President Mohamed Morsi. The Islamists’ participation in Friday’s protests was reported by eyewitnesses on social media to have resulted in “conflict.”

Most politicians oppose the presence of the Muslim Brotherhood and similar groups in politics, yet continue to be skeptical of the current regime’s intentions regarding the achievement of the 2013 Roadmap and the restoration of democracy.

“The State has made it clear that it doesn’t want political parties to play any significant role, let alone realistically existing,” Amr Ali of the National Salvation Front told The Cairo Post Sunday.

For Zahran’s part, he said the only reason the State would hold parliamentary elections on time is the economic summit scheduled to take place in Egypt by mid-March, and an elected parliament must be in place before that.

The upcoming parliamentary elections are planned to be held in three rounds from Feb. 1 to March 8, and the first official parliamentary session is due to take place before the economic summit in Sharm el-Sheikh from March 13-15.

Candidates should be able to register in January, leaving them with a month for campaigning.

This at least is according to a detailed report published by Youm7 Monday, which did not name sources, but said the information came from the Parliamentary Elections’ Committee (PEC), which also said those dates are only for individual candidates, and that there will be other arrangements for the list-candidacy system.

George Ishak of the Democratic Current Coalition declared following a meeting with Prime Minister Ibrahim Mahlab it had been agreed upon with the presidential advisor for elections’ affairs Refaat al-Komsan to have communication between the two sides throughout the finalization of the constituencies’ law, according to Youm7 Thursday.

According to the latest from Mahlab, the law will be issued within a month, because it requires “accurate examination and discussion,” Mahlab said in a phone call with Tahrir Channel Thursday night.

Additional reporting by Ibrahim Kassem, Mostafa Abdel Tawab and Samar Salama.

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