- January 17, 2006
- 5 minutes read
The Municipal Election Draft Law is a Mystery
The coming municipal elections, scheduled for in April, are very mysterious. Leaked leads say the government considers putting it off one year. At the heels of the Muslim Brotherhood’s unprecedented wins in the parliamentary polls, the government fears the group achieving similar gains in the municipal elections attaining the constitutional-stipulated share required to field a presidential candidate. In addition, the opposition presses the government for modifying the Municipal Elections Law. These aforementioned factors may push the administration to postpone the elections in order to have sufficient time to amend the law. More probably, the new amendment will not be in the favor of the opposition. It is likely designated to enhance the dominance of the ruling National Democratic Party over the municipal councils, which are the most crucial agent in the presidential candidacy.
Regardless the real driving force behind the law amendment, the Egyptian municipalities see unparalleled corruption that erodes the Egyptian economy, according to official reports. Municipalities are rife with bribes and frauds. They, moreover, neither consider the supervisory accounts nor fear administrative prosecution.
According to the government reports, municipal authorities are infertile and unable to solve problems of the law-income class. They can not meet the simple needs of this class. Crashed under the burden of life, the law-income employs turn into corruption. The latest official account disclosed the waste of a billion pounds in municipal administration of governorates during 2005, at rate of 3 millions per day. It also detected 60.000 cases; most of them are bribes, before the administrative prosecution. Five hundreds of these lawsuits are referred to the public prosecution. Other parliamentary accounts put the blame of the deteriorating conditions of municipalities on its governors and its executive authorities.
Amidst this mood of decay and mystery, the political elite are uncertain about the new law of municipal elections. The coming reportage tries to find answers to the questions brought up about the new law.
El-Muhammady Abdel Maqsod, the Muslim Brotherhood’s MP and a former president of a municipal council, said the new law has been adjured many times. Therefore, the old law is still in force. The new law; its items and articles are unknown. This law is scheduled to be discussed during the ongoing parliament.
He expressed his hope the new law would foster the decentralization inside the municipalities via approving running for election by list system instead of individual candidates. If the elections are conduced in its due time, legal hinders will pop up. Whereas the new bill is not passed yet, the old law will be applicable so it should be presented to the parliament to approve prolonging its action.
However, the election system, whether via lists or individual candidates, will have no adverse impact on the role of the Muslim Brotherhood. For the grassroots support those who shoulder the responsibility and remain in contact with them. Team spirit and cooperation are the keys of achieving the best results in municipalities, he drew the attention.
Commenting on fears about the Brotherhood’s potential success picking up the stated ration to field candidate for presidency, el-Muhammady remarked no need to foresee future developments since they are unpredictable due to the rapid changes on the national and international levels.
On his part, Muhammad Said, the vice of the Al-Ahram Center for Strategic Studies and Politics, branded the new law ’very bad and unacceptable’. It is unreasonable to appoint mayors of villages in order to be the government operatives. While political action ripple local, Arabic and world arena, this procedure consolidates the autocratic rule which is wholly rejected
The new law does not draw an outline for municipal councils or specify its competencies. The administrative authorities and its representatives in governorates are not definite. Muhammad Said does not know if this law will be approved or not. But he hoped the law not to be presented to the parliament for the government may use its influence to pass it.
He does not rule out the likelihood of deferring the new law in the light of the Muslim Brotherhood’s gains in the legislative vote indicating that the law provisions were prepared ahead of the Brotherhood’s success.
For Muhammad Said, the municipal elections put the ruling NDP in a quandary, in the wake of the Brotherhood’s major gains. He does not exclude the possibility of putting the elections off just to prevent the Muslim Brotherhood from making further inroads.