Middle East News
Egypt amends elections law, imposes jail for poll fraud
Oct 8, 2011, 22:09 GMT
Cairo - Egypt's ruling military council amended the country's elections law on Saturday to allow parties to vie for all seats and imposed jail terms for any acts of fraud committed during the planned parliamentary polls.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has ruled Egypt since February, cancelled an article that prevents political parties from contesting one third of the seats allocated for individual candidates, after many parties had threatened to boycott the November elections.
Egypt's opposition said that allowing individual candidacy in elections would allow supporters of ousted president Hosny Mubarak to enter Parliament.
The parties have called for banning members of Mubarak's former ruling National Democratic Party from participating in politics for several years. In the last parliamentary election, in November 2010, the now disbanded party won nearly 90 per cent of the vote. Parliament was dissolved after Mubarak resigned on February 11.
The military council established jail sentences for candidates who threaten or bribe voters to cast ballots for them, as well as candidates using religious slogans in their campaigns.
Many parties were established after the January 25 revolution, including the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, along with other Islamist parties.
The Muslim Brotherhood had been officially banned since 1954 in Egypt. The ban was lifted after Mubarak stepped down.
The military council established fines for registered voters who fail to cast their ballots without justification.
The elections for the legislature, the first polls to be held in the country since Mubarak's ouster, are to begin on November 28. Polls for the Shura Council, or upper chamber, are set to begin on January 29. Each election will take place over three stages.