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The Egyptian Organization for Human Rights

EOHR calls for rejection of judicial supervision bill

Cairo : 1/1/2002

The Egyptian Organization For Human Rights calls for the People's Assembly to refuse the bill of law because of the lack of judicial supervision on the People's Assembly and Shoura Council elections

EOHR is deeply concern about the attempts of a member of the People's Assembly to present a bill of law which states that the judicial supervision shall be confined only to the People's Assembly , the Shoura Council and referendum and it shall not be confined to the local elections that will be held in the next months.

The Legislative committee in the Shoura Council discussed yesterday the bill of law presented by the National Party member Abou El Naga El Magzary- to amend article 24 of law no. 73/1956 concerning the exercising of political rights which is considered a complementary law to the constitution. In the discussions it is asserted that it is important to re-examine the electoral system in order to have an effective participation in the elections and to encourage the competition among the political parties. However, the final results of the committee discussion was in conflict with the above mentioned view as the committee states that the local body is part of the executive power due to the Constitution and therefore, it does not subject to article 88 of the Constitution. It is worth mentioning that a memo of the Shoura Council final result will be sent to the People's Assembly.

The EOHR is worried about the attempts to put restrictions on the right of participation in the public affairs through the exclusion of the local councils elections from the judicial supervision claiming that it is part of the executive power and therefore it does not subject to article 88 of the Constitution . In this regard EOHR believes that view is incorrect according to articles 161-162-163 of the Egyptian Constitution concerning the local administration. As article 161 states that" The Arab Republic of Egypt shall be divided into administrative units, enjoying legal person among which shall be governorates, cities and villages. Other administrative units may be established having legal person when required by common interest".

Article 162 states that "Local People's Councils shall be gradually formed, on the level of administrative units by direct election half the members of whom must be farmers or workers. The law shall provide for the gradual transfer of authority to the local People's Councils . Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the Councils shall be elected from among their members "

Article 163 states that "The law shall determine the way of forming the local People's Councils, their competences, their financial resources, the guarantees for their members their relation to the People's Assembly and to the Government as well as their role in preparing and implementing the development plan in controlling various activities".

Eventually, article 8 of law no. 43/1979 issued by a presidential decree states that " the words local council or council which are mentioned in the law and the regulations shall be replaced by the words local people's council or the local people's councils wherever they are mentioned . Moreover, law no. 52 of 1975 is abolished concerning the local ruling system.". Thus for the first time the word local people's council becomes in force till now due to law no. 45 of 1973 issued by a presidential decree of.

Furthermore, the competences of these local councils includes the law of the local administration system no. 34/1979 as it has a legal person and which assumes the following:

  • 163 According to the general policies of the state , the local council assumes the supervision over the various public utilities and the activities which are under the domain of the governorate . The council can ask the governorator for any information the council needs concerning the activities of other productive and economical units and other units within the governorate.

  • 164 The council has the power to implement and follow up the plans of the local development . Moreover, the local people's council in the governorate observes and supervises the works and the activities of the other local people's councils within the governorate and it can ratify or object to the resolutions issued by these councils as well as agree or object to the recommendations of these councils to establish local units within the governorate.

  • 165 Ratifying on the social and economic development plans and the annual budget of the governorate as well as following up the implementation of these projects and agreeing on the final balance sheet.

  • 166 Agreeing on the general projects which fulfil the requirements of housing and construction and suggesting the planning and construction projects.

  • 167 Studying and preparing the plans and programmes of birth control and eliminating illiteracy within the governorate and to provide the necessary requirements as well as following up its implementation.

  • 168 Suggesting the establishment of free zones and investment companies in cooperation with Arabic capitals or even Foreign capitals as well as establishing joint projects with other governorates after the agreement of the competent planning authorities and due to the provisions of the law of the investment of the Arabic and Foreign capitals.

    Moreover, inquiring and asking for knowledge are the most important powers the local people's councils of the governorate have as each member of the local people's council on the governorate can ask the governorator or his assistants and the head of public bodies and directorates some questions in their competences concerning the local affairs of the governorate. Each member of the local people's council of the governorate can also ask the governorator or his assistants and the head of public bodies and directorates about any important matter concerning internal affairs in their competences.

    From the above mentioned it is clear that stating that the local councils are part of the executive power is incorrect and in conflict with the Constitution and the law. In this regard , EOHR is worried about the attempts of some members of the People's assembly to issue such laws which hinder the democratic practices and the existence of various political parties in Egypt. These attempts to exclude the local elections from the judicial supervision is considered a step backward especially that the justification is the lack of enough number of judges who shall supervise all the electoral committees of the local elections . The justification was the same when they discussed the judicial supervision over the legislative elections which is held before the issuance of a verdict by the Constitutional Court consented by the president of the state who issued law no. 167/2000 . This law gives the judiciary in Egypt the power to supervise the electoral process and is considered a quick response to the requirements of the parties and the civil associations in Egypt as well as it is an important step towards achieving a legal democratic atmosphere that shall enable the individuals and the parties to participate in the electoral process and which is considered the only method to exchange power in a peaceful way and which support the right to manage the public affairs of the state guaranteed by the international human rights covenants especially the international Covenant on civil and political rights and article 62 of the Egyptian Constitution.

    EOHR appeals for the members of the People's assembly to refuse to ratify on this bill of law which exclude the local election from the judicial supervision to maintain the democratic atmosphere and the existence of various political parties in the State

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