Region | Egypt

Egypt to hold parliamentary polls in September

Egypt emergency law will be lifted before elections

  • Reuters
  • Published: 15:02 March 28, 2011
  • Gulf News

New responsibilities
  • Image Credit: AP
  • Hundreds of Egyptians line up outside a polling station in Cairo on Saturday to vote in a referendum on constitutional amendments. The referendum gives Egypt's 45 million voters their first taste of a free vote in decades but also presents the first major challenge in the country's transition to democracy after decades of authoritarian rule.

Cairo: Egypt will hold a legislative election in September and will lift emergency laws before the vote, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said on Monday.

Mamdouh Shaheen, a member of the military council, said a date for a presidential election had yet to be set.

The legislative election date means parties that were crushed under Hosni Mubarak's rule have some five months to prepare for the first free parliamentary polls in decades.

The military council has ruled Egypt since Mubarak was toppled from power on February 11. It plans to relinquish power to a civilian government once a presidential election is held.

"Parliamentary elections will be in September," Shaheen said. "We have said before that parliamentary or presidential polls will not be held while emergency law is still in force," he added.

The military council also approved a law that eases restrictions on the formation of political parties. Shaheen said new parties would need the approval of 5,000 members from at least 10 of Egypt's 29 provinces.

Egyptians voted on March 19 on a set of constitutional amendments. About 77 per cent endorsed the changes, which include term limits for presidents, fuller judicial oversight of voting and fewer restrictions on presidential candidates.

Backers said the amendments will help speed up the transition to civilian rule and help revive the economy. Opponents say the tight timetable will favour established groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's main opposition movement.

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