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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

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Feb 8, 2011

Articles 76 and 77 of the Egyptian Constitution

Many of our friends wanted us to post an explanation about articles 76 and 77 of the Egyptian Constitution. These two articles are discussed daily in the media.

The newspaper Al Masry Al Youm (2/7/2011) printed a copy of the Egyptian Constitution drafted in 1971. It consists of 211 articles. There have been three revisions in the Constitution since 1971, in 1980, 2005, and 2007. The 2005 revision focused on article 76 which made it difficult for the selection of presidential candidates.

Since the popular uprising of January 25th references were made regarding articles 76 and 77 and their restriction to nominate a presidential candidate.

Article 76 states the followings:
  • - The selection of presidential candidates should take place during the same year of the election
  • - The political candidate should obtain the signatures of at least 250 elected members consisting of a minimum of 65 from the parliament, 25 members of El Shoura Council, and 10 members of each of the 14 Governorate elected Councils.
  • - Any political party nominating a candidate must be licensed, active for five years and has at least 3% members in the Parliament and 3% representation in the Shoura Council
  • - The candidate should be an elected member of the Executive Committee of the nominating political party and should have served for a at least year in the party
  • - A list of the selected candidates for the presidential election should be submitted to the Presidential Election Committee. The Committee is chaired by the head of the Egyptian Constitutional Court and aided by 12 members from different judicial courts.
  • - Each presidential candidate should be approved by at least 7 members of the Presidential Election Committee in order to have his/her name put on the ballot

Article 77 states that the elected president will serve for a period of 6 years from the day he/she assumes the duty of the president of Egypt. The article does not put limits on how many terms the president could serve.

We would like to stress here that the majority in the Egyptian Parliament has always consisted of members of the National Democratic Ruling Party (NDP), which is headed by President Mubarak. The election is usually rigged as it has appeared in the last election where the ruling party obtained 95% of the 425 seats in Parliament!

Do the above articles and manipulation of elections allow a president to maintain his position for life? The answer is clearly reflected in Mubarak serving a fifth term, which will end in September 2011.

No wonder the young protestors of Tahrir Square are demanding the revision of the Constitutions as a whole.

This post is a collaboration between Hani Fakhouri and Aleya Rouchdy.

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