Elections commission sets Sunday as deadline for accepting appeals

Sunday is the deadline for submitting challenges to election results, a judicial source from the Presidential Elections Commission has said.

Commission Secretary General Hatem Bagato told Al-Masry Al-Youm that ballots are still being counted and that final results are likely to be announced within the coming two days.

The commission received four challenges from former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, ex-Arab League chief Amr Moussa and former Muslim Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh. The candidates requested re-conducting the elections across the country, Bagato said, apart from Sabbahi who requested holding them again in only five governorates.

The commission checked the minutes, which include the number of ballots received for each candidate in the first round of election, and found that the counting process conducted by the general committees was correct.

However, legal and constitutional experts differed on the importance of challenging the election results.

Constitutional expert Nour Farahat said that accepting or declining the challenge depends on its effect on the elections. If the potential violations would affect the final result, the commission would accept the challenge. But if the violations wouldn’t have an effect, the commission would reject them.

Farahat said the commission had approved the use of slogans such as “Achieving the Renaissance Project with an Islamic reference,” even though the elections law deems religious slogans illegal.

The commission had reasoned that the slogan depends on Article 2 of the Constitutional Declaration, which states Sharia as a main source of legislation, adding legitimacy to the use of religious slogans, he said.

The commission had also accepted Shafiq’s nomination papers in spite of the political isolation law, Nour said. The ruling military council had approved the law, which would bar certain members of the Mubarak regime from running for office.

Nour said the commission let Shafiq run for president without waiting for the Supreme Constitutional Court to review the law, which means the president would be illegitimate if Shafiq won and the court approved the law.

Hamdy Omar, professor of constitutional law at Zagazig University, said the commission granted the candidates the right to challenge, then it would accept or decline.

If any cases of rigging were proven, the commission has the right to decide without excluding the candidate, Omar added.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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