Egypt lifts bar on ex-ruling party members in vote

Mon Nov 14, 2011 3:06pm GMT
 

CAIRO Nov 14 (Reuters) - A top Egyptian court on Monday overturned a decision barring members of President Hosni Mubarak's former party from standing in a parliamentary election that starts later this month, a move that was cheered by supporters of the now disbanded party.

A lower Egyptian court in the northern Delta city of Mansoura ruled on Friday to ban members of former National Democratic Party (NDP) from running, setting off a string of lawsuits nationwide aimed at removing such candidates from the race.

But Judge Magdy el-Agaty in the Higher Administrative Court overturned the verdict.

Backers of the former party cheered the decision at the court, chanting: "God is the greatest." Some waved pictures of their favoured candidates.

Many former NDP members have registered to run as independents or on other party lists in the first free election in decades following an uprising that overthrew Mubarak in February.

The first stage of the staggered vote starts on Nov. 28.

Former NDP members have set up at least six new parties and many have older parties, angering activists who want to ensure that those they see as "counter-revolutionary" forces are kept out of the assembly which is tasked with appointing a committee to write Egypt's new constitution.

Eliminating any members associated with the former ruling party could have meant party lists and candidate applications would have to be reviewed from scratch, disrupting the vote or potentially even delaying it, analysts had said. (Reporting by Tamim Elyan; Writing by Dina Zayed; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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