CAIRO: The military ruling army council denied late Thursday press reports about an amended law for practicing political rights that wouldn’t allow Egyptians living abroad to vote in the next parliamentary elections.
“The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) confirms that such reports are untrue and that the army reaffirms its trust in all segments of the Egyptian people,” read a statement published on the council’s official Facebook page.
“The army council warns … against tendentious rumors that aim to undermine the unity of the Egyptian people at such a historical [phase],” the statement added.
On Thursday, daily independent Al-Masry Al-Youm quoted an unnamed military source as saying the SCAF had already submitted the law to the Cabinet and that the legislation would be announced during a press conference on Saturday.
When contacted by Daily News Egypt early Thursday, military sources, along with other officials, refused to confirm or deny the news.
In a telephone interview with ON TV’s “Baladna Bel Masry” talk show, Assistant Defense Minister for Legal Affairs Mamdouh Shahine said that carrying out the voting process abroad was “subject to administrative and regulatory measures.”
“But in general the constitution grants Egyptian expatriates the right to vote,” Shahine told TV host Reem Maged.
He called on the public and the media to wait until the law is declared and not to precede events, saying it would be passed within days.
“You will find that the law meets all demands,” he said.
According to Shahine, the parliamentary elections will be held in September as decided earlier.
The emergency state may be lifted prior to the polls if the security situation in the country stabilized, he added.
On April 30, the caretaker government had announced that Egyptians abroad will be able to cast their vote in both parliamentary and presidential elections at Egyptian embassies in about 140 countries.
However, Media Advisor to Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, Ahmed El-Samman, said the law would not be active unless the SCAF accredited it.
Meanwhile, National Association for Change (NAC) said in a statement Thursday that a draft of the amended law was secretly leaked, calling on the army council to disclose the identities of the public figures and politicians who acquired it.
NAC also demanded the SCAF put forward the law for public discussions before passing it.
Yet Shahine refuted these allegations saying that draft law was available for everybody and that public figures and ordinary people reviewed and discussed it alike.
A page on the social networking site Facebook, called the Popular Campaign for Supporting the Right of Egyptians Abroad to Vote, was created hours after the unconfirmed news was published.
One day later the page administrators and subscribers accused the army council of deliberately spreading the rumor in order to test the people’s reaction before it denied the news.