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Egypt: Judges Demand Parliament Reject Constitutional Amendments
Counselor Zakariya Abdul Aziz, the chairman of the Egyptian Judges’ Club, called on the independent MPs of the People’s Assembly, the lower chamber of parliament, to vote for rejecting the proposed constitutional amendments, with opposition MPs, to reach the rate of one third (about 151 MPs) which is required for dropping the amendments, because they aim at "excluding the judiciary from supervi
Monday, January 22,2007 00:00
by Ikhwanweb

Counselor Zakariya Abdul Aziz, the chairman of the Egyptian Judges’ Club, called on the independent MPs of the People’s Assembly, the lower chamber of parliament, to vote for rejecting the proposed constitutional amendments, with opposition MPs, to reach the rate of one third (about 151 MPs) which is required for dropping the amendments, because they aim at "excluding the judiciary from supervising the elections."

This call was released on Saturday evening while kicking off a conference organized by the Egyptian Judges’ Club for discussing the expected constitutional amendments; the conference has been attended by about 250 judges and dozens of scholars in the constitutional law in universities and public figures. The conference discussions will last two months, in order to take a final decision towards these amendments in the next general assembly of reform-leaning Judges’ club .

Attempting to prevent ratifying these amendments that- he thinks- are aiming at excluding the judges from supervising elections, counselor Abd Al-Aziz said:" I suggest on the independent MPs to refuse the constitutional amendments proposed by the president who has the right to do so; if one third of the MPs rejected them, this demand will be dropped", according to a parliament bylaw. He confirmed that " there already 100 MPs who reject these amendments" in parliament .

Observers considered that counselor Abd Al-Aziz is implicitly directing his call to MPs affiliated to the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP), not only to independent and opposition MPs. This is because the ruling NDP has about 314 MPs, who give it the ability to enjoy a two-third- majority of parliament seats ( about 300 out of 454 including 10 appointed MPs), a rate that gives it the freedom of amending the constitution, and ratifying emergency laws with no need to opposition or independent votes.

While criticizing the proposed amendments, counselor Abd Al-Aziz warned of the consequences of abusing the constitutional texts related to public freedoms, considering that the main target from the expected amendments is to exclude the judges from fully supervising the general elections.

For his part, counselor Mahmoud Al Khodairi, the chairman of Alexandria’s Judges’ Club said in statements to Ikhwanweb:" There are plans for abusing the constitutional texts related to public freedoms ... The main target from amending article 88, that allows the judges to fully supervise over the elections, is to exclude the judges from supervising over the elections".

Al Khodairi stressed that "This article didn’t need any amendment, unless the regime wanted to introduce rigging-friendly amendments, something that Egyptian judges will not accept; we will never participate in rigged elections".

Regarding the judges attitude over the pressures exercised by the regime to ratify these amendments, Al Khodairi said:" We are leading people to confront them, and we will not stay motionless while those people are abusing the present and future of Egypt; the Judges Club will always defend freedoms and democracy".

Regarding calling for holding the elections in only one day, according to the proposed amendments of article 88, Al Khodairi said that:" The Constitutional Court did not confine holding the elections to one day". He stressed that the 13000-member Judges’ Club will handle all theses issues that will be presented in the conference, so that the club takes a decisive attitude towards these amendments in the next general assembly. The parliament is scheduled to vote on these amendments next April.

It is worth mentioning that 2005 legislative elections were held on 3 stages to enable the judges to supervise them in all Egyptian governorates. The Judges’ Club revealed several violations that were committed during these elections, leading to tense relations between it and the regime.

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