Egypt’s lawyers angry at postponement of syndicate elections

Members of Egypt's Lawyers Syndicate have expressed their anger at the judicial committee supervising the syndicate's elections, with some candidates questioning the integrity of the judicial system.

The committee decided last Saturday to postpone syndicate elections indefinitely, so as to draft lists of voters. The elections were first slated for mid-October but were then postponed to 11 November.

The elections will be held for the syndicate chief and board, which has 24 members, and which is currently run by a temporary committee. The board was dissolved in July after a court ruling nullified the result of the 2009 syndicate elections, which had brought in members from the now-disbanded National Democratic Party.

Former Lawyers Syndicate head Sameh Ashour criticized the decision to postpone the elections, saying the committee's reasoning was weak, as voter lists were already drafted.

Four candidates for the position of syndicate chief, including Ashour, said in a statement on Sunday that postponing elections indefinitely is aimed at excluding syndicate members from discussions about the new draft law on the judiciary.

Lawyers say the draft law being written by judges includes unfair procedures in dealing with lawyers while reviewing cases, such as granting judges the right to arrest lawyers.

In the statement, the candidates said the judicial committee wants to prevent lawyers from participating in writing or discussing the draft law by postponing elections indefinitely.

The website of Al-Wafd newspaper quoted candidate Mohamed Kamel, the party’s deputy head, as saying that the decision doesn’t have any legal or logical basis.

The news website Dostour also quoted activist Haytham Omar, who is running for board membership, as saying that lawyers will not accept the judicial committee's decisions, which will lead to the syndicate's collapse.

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