• 22:21
  • Thursday ,29 September 2011

Over 20 political groups to join mass protests Friday to 'reclaim the revolution'

By-Heba Fahmy-Daily News Egypt

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Thursday ,29 September 2011

Over 20 political groups to join mass protests Friday to 'reclaim the revolution'

CAIRO: Over 20 political powers including the April 6 Youth Movement, the Coalition of the Youth of the Revolution, the Revolution Forces Alliance, the National Association for Change and Kefaya are participating in mass protests in Tahrir Square on Friday dubbed the Friday "Reclaiming the Revolution."

The Democratic Front, Al-Wasat, Al-Wafd, Al-Ghad and Al-Tagammu are also among the participating parties.
"We are going to organize marches from mosques around Cairo to head to Tahrir Square, following Friday prayers," spokesman of April 6, Mahmoud Afify, told Daily News Egypt, following a press conference on Wednesday.
The groups are calling for the annulment of the emergency law stressing that Sept. 30 marks the end of the state of emergency as per the constitutional decree announced by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) late march, which stipulated that the state of emergency would end after six months.
"The only way the law can be extended is through a referendum," spokesman of Al-Wasat Party Tarek El-Malt told DNE.
The demands also include amending the People’s Assembly and Shoura Council laws, a specific timeline for SCAF to hand over power to civilian rule, putting an end to military trials, activating the treachery act and giving Egyptians abroad the right to vote.
"We have no option but to pressure SCAF through holding mass protests, to achieve our demands," Karima Al-Hifnawy, member of the National Association for Change and the Kefaya movement, said.
However, some political groups were still undecided, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Gamaa'a Al-Islameyya, the Freedom and Justice Party, the members of the Egyptian bloc like the Free Egyptians Party and members of the popular consensus initiative, which includes 45 political powers and civil society groups.
Tarek Al-Zomor, member of Al-Gamaa'a Al-Islameyya's Shoura Council, however, said that on a personal level he believed that holding mass protests as this point was a necessity.
"Thick fog is clouding the political path has and doubts have loomed over the long transitional period and extending the emergency law," Al-Zomor said.
Several political powers stated that the problem didn't lie with the timeline of the elections, but in the PA and Shoura laws.
Political powers slammed earlier this week the amendments made to the parliament law that increase the number of seats allocated to the closed party lists system from 50 percent to two-thirds.
They called for an open party list system to be implemented only in the coming elections, to prevent remnants of the former regime from reaching power.
They also rejected the amendment stipulating that members of political parties can’t run as individuals in the same constituencies. The elected MPs would be subject to expulsion should they violate this rule via a two-thirds vote against them in parliament, according to the recent amendments.
The April 6 movement said it would start creating "white and black" circles to prepare for the elections.
Afify explained that the white circles would raise the people's awareness regarding the characteristics that should define an MP and his role in legislating laws and approving the general budget.
"The white circle won't include any specific names for candidates, just a general outline," he said.
On the other hand, the black circle will include the names of previous, corrupt MPs or political figures who sabotaged the political space.
Even if the treachery act is implemented, which strips officials proven guilty of political corruption of their right to practice politics for five years, the movement would still go ahead with their black list circle to disqualify figures who might have escaped the law, he said.
The movement stressed that it will not field any candidates in the upcoming elections, saying that didn't seek any "political power."
Elections timeline
Meanwhile, Al-Hifnawy and the Egyptian bloc criticized the timeline set out for the elections.
Mohamed Hamed, member of the political bureau of the Free Egyptians Party said that the Egyptian Bloc wanted to delay the elections to give political powers enough time to prepare.
Al-Hifnawy echoed Hamed's opinion, saying that political parties should have been given more time to campaign.
Al-Hifnawy condemned the fact that the People's Assembly will not convene until March, although the election process will have been complete by January, saying that this "had no logical explanation and demonstrated the random decisions made by SCAF."
Al-Zomor said that according to this timeline presidential elections would be held no earlier than July, "which is too late."
Presidential hopeful Hamdeen Sabahi also expressed his concern about the prolonged timeline of the elections on his official website.
He called on SCAF to announce a specific timeline to hand over power to civilian rule as soon as possible. The military council has been under fire for taking unilateral decisions affecting Egypt's political future ever since it was took power on Feb. 11 when a popular revolt ousted ex-president Mubarak.
On the other hand, professor of electoral systems at Cairo University, Mazen Hassan, said that holding the elections over three phases was a "necessity" in order to have judicial supervision in each polling station.
"The number of judges is one third the number of polling stations," Hassan explained.
"In order to have a judge on each polling station, it has to be done over three stages," he added.
According to the official MENA news agency, the PA elections are set to start on November 28 and be held over three phases, each phase including nine governorates.
The second round of the parliamentary polls would be held on December 14, the third on January 3, and the assembly was scheduled to convene on March 17.
The Shoura Council elections would follow scheduled for January 29 next year and end in March.