The European Parliament has recently been criticised by political parties, parliamentarians, and the European Parliament for a recent resolution that deals with the country’s future elections and the treatment of the opposition, calling it an unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of a “sovereign state”. The European Parliament unilaterally adopted a harsh and unintelligible resolution calling on Egypt to hold fair, free and just presidential elections and to stop suppressing opposition voices in the run-up to the elections. The resolution also criticises Egypt’s treatment of political prisoners, the upcoming elections, the media and the treatment of the opposition. The country’s House of Representatives has already denied all of the above allegations.
Egypt will hold presidential elections in December. Along with incumbent President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who is seeking re-election for a third term, several candidates will try for the presidency. Voting will take place on 10-12 December, while Egyptians abroad at the time will be able to vote on 1-3 December. A coalition of Egyptian parties, comprising 42 political parties, condemned the EU parliament’s resolution and expressed their rejection of any interference in Egypt’s internal affairs as well as external diktat. They stressed that the upcoming presidential elections will be held under full judicial supervision, emphasising the independence of the National Elections Authority (NEA), responsible for managing the elections.
Mostakbal Watan (Future of the Nation) party leader Mohamed Rezk called on the European Parliament to respect Egypt’s sovereignty, just as Egypt refrains from interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, including European countries. He also demanded an apology from the European Parliament for insulting the Egyptian state. The centrist party Humat El-Watan (Defenders of the Homeland), the Democratic Generation Party (El-Geel), the nationalist Reform and Revival Party, the Egyptians Party and the Al-Ittihad (Union) Party strongly and uncompromisingly condemned the resolution. The Free Egyptians Party and the Congress Party, known for their liberal and pro-Western views, said the resolution did not accurately reflect the situation in Egypt.
Deputy Nasser Osman, Secretary of the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives, condemned the resolution as unfounded, saying that it violates all norms of international law. He denied any harassment of presidential candidates during the election approval process, claiming that the candidates’ official Facebook pages show people who freely support candidates without restrictions. He called on the European Parliament and international institutions to adhere to neutrality when dealing with political issues and human rights in Egypt, saying that the Egyptian government does not participate in the management of elections, as it falls under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Independent National Electoral Administration.
Riham Afifi of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee said that the resolution is misleading, saying that such remarks, repeatedly addressed to Egypt, are aimed at destabilizing the state and obstructing elections. She claimed that the resolution was based on dubious sources and reports of human rights organizations associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt classifies as a terrorist group.
In a published statement, the Parliament also condemned the resolution, stressing that Egypt has the constitutional and judicial powers necessary to hold fair presidential elections. “Egypt has long-established constitutional and judicial institutions that can implement the law and provide all the necessary guarantees for holding free and fair presidential elections that reflect the true desire of the Egyptian people,” the parliament’s statement stressed. Such false information “is aimed at fomenting discord and destabilizing security and stability in the Arab region.” At the same time, the European Parliament was urged to stop such “blatant interference” in the internal affairs of Arab countries.
The Arab Observatory for Human Rights (AOFHR) said the resolution was adopted “at a very difficult time and reflects bad faith towards Egypt, putting pressure on it under the pretext of respecting human rights.” The European Parliament resolution “contains false allegations” and “reflects a biased and subjective view of the situation in Egypt,” the AOFHR statement said. The Observatory associated with the Parliament spoke about Egypt’s important achievements in the field of human rights in recent years, including the launch of a National Human Rights Strategy and a National Dialogue.
Egypt’s Arab Council for the Support of Human Rights to a Fair Trial (ACSFT) said that the European Parliament’s discussion of human rights cases in Egypt is “unacceptable” and violates international laws. Abdel Gawad Ahmed, chairman of the ACSFT, said that the EU Parliament should not violate its powers as a legislative oversight body monitoring legislation issued by the parliaments of EU countries.
Earlier, the NEA approved all requests from local and foreign media for election coverage, the SCMR stressed. In addition, SCMR stated that it had granted licenses to more than 100 media outlets that met the requirements of the law. The Council stated that it has not taken any decisions on the closure of any media outlets and always defends the freedom of the press and media. The Council stressed that it had issued a code of election coverage in the media in accordance with constitutional and legal powers, following the guidelines established by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Code of Conduct for Election Observation in the European Union. The Council stated that it also draws inspiration from democratic models of election coverage and has not received any complaints from the media about restrictions in coverage. The Council has asked members of the European Parliament to verify information published by some media outlets that deviate from professionalism and reliability, it says.
While the European Parliament, in its characteristic form of arrogance, disrespect for the rights of other peoples and frankly boorish behaviour, tried to teach the Egyptians, the nomination of candidates for the post of future president is ending in the country. Abdel Sanad Yamama, the head of Egypt’s oldest liberal party, the Wafd, has submitted his candidacy to the National Electoral Office to participate in the presidential elections scheduled for December. He became the third to nominate his candidacy, joining current President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the head of the opposition Social Democratic Party, Farid Zahran. He has secured the support of members of Parliament necessary to participate in the election race. According to the Egyptian Constitution, candidates must enlist the support of at least 20 deputies of the House of Representatives or 25,000 citizens from at least 15 governorates (provinces).
Other political figures have announced their intention to run in the elections, including Fouad Badrawi, former MP and member of the Supreme Council of the Wafd Party; Hazem Omar, head of the People’s Republican Party; Ahmed El Fadali, chairman of the Democratic Peace Party; Ahmed Tantaoui, former MP and former head of the leftist Karama (Dignity) Party; and Gamayla Ismail, chairman of the liberal Dostour (Constitution) Party. Nomination applications are due between 5 and 14 October. Incomplete applications will be rejected and the initial list of candidates will be announced on 16 October. The NEA will announce the final results on 18 December if a second round is not required.
Simultaneously, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi issued a presidential decree on Wednesday to newly form the National Electoral Authority (NEA). Judge Hazem Badawi, vice president of the Court of Cassation, took over the highly important body on 9 October 2023. The NEA announced the inclusion of four new board members: Mohsen Dardiri, president of the Court of Appeal; Mahmoud Rashid, vice president of the State Council; Abdel-Hamid Nagashi, vice president of the State Judicial Claims Authority; and Hani Gadallah, vice president of the Administrative Prosecution Authority.
According to the Egyptian constitution, the NEA consists of 10 members, equally composed of the vice-presidents of the Court of Cassation, the presidents of the Court of Appeal, the vice-presidents of the State Council, the vice-presidents of the State Authority for Legal Claims and the vice-presidents of the Administrative Prosecution Authority. The members of the body are elected by the Supreme Judicial Council and the respective special and supreme councils of these judicial bodies. Board members are appointed by full secondment for one non-renewable term of six years. The body is headed by the most senior member of the Court of Cassation. Established under the 2014 constitution, the NEA is an independent body responsible for organising and managing elections.
The Egyptian public and media have been very positive about the new reshuffle in the NEA, believing that “new blood will bring a streak of positivity and higher objectivity” to the upcoming very important elections for Egypt.
Victor Mikhin, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.