Former presidential adviser: Depriving Muslim Brotherhood from running to elections unconstitutional

Former Vice-President of Supreme Constitutional Court Ali Awad, former constitutional adviser to interim President Adly Mansour, said that the new law allowing armed forces to secure establishments, along with police, and refer outlaws to military courts does not violate article no. 204 of constitution,
In an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm, he explained that attacks against pivotal establishments in the presence of armed forces is considered an attack against them, which would merit a swift trial at military courts.
“Former President Mansour was keen to leave articles on military trials to the committees of ten and 50 experts, without his intervention, and that’s what he did. Thus, the text on trials of civilians at military courts was made by the ten-member committee and approved by the 50-member committee and the public through the referendum,” Awad said, denying his intervention within work of the ten-member committee, being its rapporteur.
Awad also indicated that Muslim Brotherhood members who were involved in sabotage and blocking roads trials would not be brought to retrial at military courts under the law.
When asked if he believes that the protest law imposed crackdown on freedoms, Awad said, “Any enforced law that causes problems or needs amendment could be reconsidered but without breaking it.” He revealed that Mansour returned it back to cabinet and requested discussion over it. Cabinet brought many legislations from other countries that applied the law. “He did not issue it before making sure that the law organizes right of expression without wasting it.”
Awad described presence of many laws without being applied as “a very big problem,” saying, “We have a crisis with applying all this legislation, despite the presence of many wonderful laws. Many of them have been requested to be amended, despite not even being applied.”
Regarding postponement or holding parliamentary elections, Awad said, “High Elections Commission and the political leadership are in charge of holding or calling off the parliamentary elections. They are more aware of what the country has been through. Being out of authority now, and unaware of all the circumstances in the country, I cannot stress necessity of holding elections. However, the presence of parliament to help the regime with the circumstances is essential. What’s more important than holding the elections is raising awareness of people through media, so they can make good selections of members of the coming parliament.”
Awad argued that the Constitution cannot deprive the Muslim Brotherhood or any other faction from running for elections as used to happen. “We were keen on that, being a constitutional right,” Awad said adding that deprivation is a constitutional violation  
Regarding the controversy over nullification of the coming parliamentary elections for not sticking to the constitutional date, Awad said, “The Constitution did not stipulate holding presidential elections before parliamentary elections or vice versa. However, it was left up to the former President Adly Mansour. When there were calls from the political groups to hold the presidential election first, we agreed, despite my preference to hold parliamentary elections first. Thus, the Constitution stated the first elections be held within three months, which happened in the presidential elections, without specifying the second elections, which makes the talks over setting date for parliamentary elections untrue. The Constitution stated the date for parliamentary elections without mentioning the date for its end. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was committed to the Constitution and announced the formation of the High Election Commission, which means no violation of the Constitution exists.”
When asked if demarcation of governorates and electoral constituencies after holding parliamentary elections could threaten unconstitutionality of the parliament, Awad said, “The presence of problems with laws does not affect the parliament. If the demarcation caused division of one constituency between two governorates, there would be no violation and that issue could be resolved after the term of the parliament ends.”
Concerning rumors over the armed forces being the actual ruler under tenure of former president Mansour, Awad denied the charges saying, “for me as the president’s constitutional adviser, I did my job. I did not have communications with the military council or President Sisi or any other executive authority in the country. I thought every person in the presidency by then was like me. Mansour used to do his job without pressure. He was mainly occupied by taking the country to the safe side.”  
Awad described all laws issued before the power handover to Sisi as ‘necessary, important, have no links to anyone’. He added that he met with Sisi only in joint meetings that were held by Mansour. “No direct meeting took place when Sisi worked as defense minister, or even after he became president.”
Regarding terrorism in Sinai, Awad said, “The country was very late restarting Sinai urban, industrial and agricultural development, and after restoring it, had already been killed there. That’s what allowed the terrorists to gain control of it. After eradicating terrorism, which I think will happen soon, the government should draw a real and comprehensive plan to develop Sinai, so it becomes like other governorates.”  
Asked if Mansour would come back again to the political scene as the parliament speaker, Awad said, “Mansour was keen on returning back to his preferred role, which he hoped to occupy as the President of the Supreme Constitutional Court. He took presidency of the court on the same day of revolution on 30 June. He was assigned according to constitution to be the interim president. He did not have time to work in the court. No one else was appointed to replace him, during the time he served as the president.” He praised all of Mansour’s decisions saying they were all important and necessary. “I’m proud of Mansour’s tenure as president and my work with him as his constitutional adviser. I was never hesitant to accept working with him, when he asked me, especially that I was on retirement.”
Regarding the law allowing university presidents to dismiss students and if this is considered violation of the students’ rights, Awad said, “I have no details of the law, but education minister denied in the media giving the right to dismiss students without the disciplinary board or the law on universities.
Concerning the texts in 2014 constitution on the Supreme Constitutional Court, Awad said, “I did not wish anything better than that, which amended the violations made in 2012 constitution, which was written by the Muslim Brotherhood, who intended harming the court.” He explained that the Brotherhood wanted to reduce the role of the court, “which was a filter to their legislation. They wanted to work without a filter. The decree dissolving the parliament was not the reason. They wanted to cause harm before that.”
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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