The Cairo Urgent Matters Court banned on Tuesday leaders of the now-dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP) from running in the upcoming presidential, parliamentary and local councils’ elections.
The Supreme Administrative Court dissolved the NDP and ordered the liquidation of its assets in April 2011, shortly after former President Hosni Mubarak was toppled. Mubarak occupied the party’s chairmanship since he became president in 1981 until his ouster.
In a detailed ruling it issued on Tuesday, the court accused the NDP of appointing “corrupt” governments and issuing “contradictory” laws, adding that the return of the party to political life would “endanger” Egypt, reported state-run Al-Ahram.
The court stated that the NDP issued legislations which contradicted the constitution and went against court rulings, reported Al-Ahram. It added that since the party was dissolved upon the people’s demand, its leaders and members of its Policies Committee should be prevented from taking part in any future elections.
Ra’fat Fouda, Cairo University law professor and constitutional expert, criticised Tuesday’s court ruling, describing it as “void of any legal value”.
Fouda said that it is not within the jurisdiction of the Urgent Matters Court to rule on such an issue, adding that the court’s jurisdiction is strictly limited to civil and timely issues.
“This ruling prevents citizens from exercising their political rights,” Fouda said. “No legislator is entitled to strip citizens of such rights unless they are convicted.”
NDP leaders included Mubarak’s son Gamal, who was the head of the party’s Policies’ Committee, and steel-tycoon Ahmed Ezz, who served as the party’s head. Both are facing several charges for which they could be convicted and therefore banned from running for elections.
The party’s headquarters, near Tahrir Square in downtown Cairo, were torched on 28 January 2011 amid deadly anti-Mubarak protests and confrontations with police forces.
On 15 April, the Alexandria Urgent Matters Court banned any Muslim Brotherhood member from running in any of the upcoming elections.
The Brotherhood, which was classified as a terrorist organisation by the cabinet in December, has been the target of an extensive crackdown since former president Mohamed Morsi’s ouster last July.
The 2012 constitution, drafted and issued under Morsi’s rule, banned NDP leaders from political work and prohibited them from running in presidential or legislative elections for a period of 10 years. This article was nevertheless removed from the 2014 constitution.
The floor for running in the 2014 presidential elections has already been closed over two weeks ago. Former Defence Minister Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and Nasserist Hamdeen Sabahy are the only two candidates.