Egypt’s ruling party’s use of public buildings angers opposition

Egyptian opposition parties have expressed anger at the ruling National Democratic Party’s (NDP) use of public establishments to hold conferences and electoral colleges, contrary to the law.

They said use of these buildings should either be indiscriminately available to all parties or banned altogether.

Bahaa Abu Shouqqa, a political advisor to the liberal Wafd Party, said the constitution should clearly stipulate that all Egyptians are equal with regards to rights and duties.

He added that individuals and institutions should not be granted any special privileges of which others are deprived, as this constitutes a violation of the principle of equality and of the constitution, which seeks to establish a citizenship-based democracy.

Saeed Abdel Aal, secretary general of the leftist Tagammu Party, said the NDP not only uses the public buildings but also the facilities for its candidates.

Abdel Aal added that even though such abuse was expected it undermines the election process since it affects the results of elections and violates the principle of government impartiality.

Sameh Ashour, a senior official at the Nasserist Party, said the NDP’s use of public establishments for election campaigns is provocative because it violates the principle of equal opportunity.

Amr Hashem Rabie, an expert at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said this practice by the NDP violates the Law on Political Participation since public buildings should not be used by certain candidates whilst excluding others. He added that this practice has been going on for a long time.

He added that it influences the behavior of voters, who are more likely to vote in favor of the NDP. He also said that it reflects negatively on the identity of these public institutions which are supposed to be independent national bodies.

He further added that using such buildings is just one way that elections are rigged.

Translated from the Arabic Edition.

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