Press Release

April 3, 1997

Second local election court ruling in favor of CHRLA

CHRLA lawyers in Alexandria have obtained a second court ruling ordering the authorities to accept the nomination documents of a candidate in the local government elections, scheduled to take place on April 7.

Mr. Ahmad Mahmud Ramadan Mu'awad presented his nomination documents on March 4, 1997, to run as a candidate in the constituency of al-'Atareen, Alexandria. He later discovered that his candidacy had been changed from a worker's seat to a professional seat (in each constituency, there are seats open to professionals, and seats open to workers/farmers). On March 8, he presented a written request to the authorities to change his candidacy back to that of a worker's seat.

When the final lists of candidates were announced, he found out his name was on neither the list of professional nor the list of worker candidates. The authorities claimed that he had registered on the electoral roll (a prerequisite for any candidate) too recently-January 28, 1997-which therefore precluded him from running.

The Center challenged the decision of the authorities, and filed a case in the Alexandria court of the first instance (Mahkamat al-Iskandira al-Ibtida'eya), against the Minister of the Interior, the Minister of Local Government, and the governor of Alexandria.

The case was based on the fact that it is illegal to make any changes to the electoral roll after the President of the Republic issues the decree specifying the dates and procedures of the elections. The Center argued that the decree had been issued on January 28, therefore any changes made to the electoral roll up to and including that date are valid. Any citizen who had his/her name on the electoral roll on January 28 should be considered a valid voter, and his/her nomination documents should be accepted. To refuse to accept the documents of such person would be a violation of the law. This was accepted by the court.

It is worth noting that the authorities rejected the nomination documents according to an alleged secret memo issued by the Minister of the Interior. The alleged memo ordered the election committees not to accept the nomination documents of anyone who had registered on the electoral roll between November 1996 and January 1997.

This is the second ruling in favor of CHRLA during the last week. On March 25, CHRLA obtained a ruling from the administrative court ordering the election committee in Helwan to accept the nomination documents of two candidates, after the committee had refused to accept them, again apparently acting according to the alleged secret memo.

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