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EOHR statement regarding the resolution of the parties committee to freeze the National "Wefak" Party

The future of political parties in danger

Cairo: 22nd August 2001

EOHR expresses its deep concern regarding the parties committee resolution to freeze the National "Wefak" Party on 19th August 2001 because of the allegation that there are disputes among its members over the party leadership. In this regard, EOHR received a complaint from the managing editor of El Karar newspaper representing the National Wefak party saying that the confiscation of the newspaper issue no. (27) by the security forces in addition to the banning of its circulation because of its director speech about some political cases that was published in the eighth and ninth pages of the newspaper.

It is worth mentioning that the national Wefak party is established 17 months ago and is the only party that succeeded during the previous 20 years in taking a permission to establish from the parties committee. As the committee states a resolution to refuse granting any permission to the parties because of the resemblance of the programs of the parties that seek a permission and the parties that already existed as well as the lack of distinguish among them.

In this regard EOHR points to the fact that the parties committee had frozen six parties among 16 political parties, which are permitted to practice its activities because of the same reason which is the disputes over the party leadership. The committee had frozen ( Misr El Fata Party- Social Justice party - Democratic people party- El Ahraar Party- Labour Party - The National Wefak Party)

EOHR affirms that law no. 40/1977 that is known as the political parties' law is considered a main restriction to the freedom of forming parties. It is obvious that the establishment of various parties is not a working matter because the forming and the closing of these parties are in the hands of this committee according to article 8. This committee, which consists of Shura council chairman as well as the membership of the ministries of interiors, justice, state peoples assembly affairs and three members who are not related to any political party but are former judicial institution presidents, has the right to agree or disagree on forming a party. The committee by three ministers' votes - that means that the existence of the former judicial institution presidents is not a must for the committee to meet - has the ability of the following:

1- Stop the activity of any party.
2- Stop issuing any party's newspaper.
3- Stop any decision or behavior taken by the party due to the national sake (article 17\3)
4- Depriving any person related to any political party from continuing his political activities ( article 6 of law 33\1978)
5- The committee has the right to ask the high administrative court in state council to dissolve any party , settle its monies and determine where these monies should directed (article 17\1)

Based on the above mentioned, this committee that has all these mandates and consists of three members and a president from the government make the establishment of various political parties is not realistically applied.

EOHR asserts that the rights of participating in the public affairs and forming parties is a constitutional right that make it possible for establishing various parties according to article 5 of the Egyptian Statute 40/1977. However, these rights are not existed any more because law 40/1977 is still used which gives the committee the ability to refuse forming any new party according to article 8. The committee has also the right to dissolve any party after giving a permission to form it due to the claim that there are disputes among its leaders over the party leadership and this is considered a threat to freeze any party if any one claim that he is disputing on the leadership. Thus it is impossible for the various parties to exist and is a limit for their activities and targets to be achieved which is expressing their public view.

EOHR call on :1- The removal of all the restrictions that face the parties to continue its activities by canceling this law no. 40/1977. 2- The party should only notify of its establishment not take a permission. 3- The judiciary should be the only authority who take actions in the settlement of any disputes between the administrative district and the party or among the party members themselves to guarantee judicial mandate on these disputes concerning the leadership of the party.

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