March 25, 1997
In a case filed by CHRLA:
The administrative court of the State Council issued a ruling today annulling the administrative decision that rejected the nomination documents of candidates Usama Muhammad Khalil and Basuni Muhammad al-Basuni. Both were applying to run in the local government elections for Helwan constituency.
The court decision also ordered the local government to accept the nomination documents of the candidates, and place their names on the final list of candidates.
CHRLA filed the case on behalf of these candidates against the president of the republic, the minister of the interior and the minister of local government. The Center maintained that the rejection of the documents had no legal grounds, represented a violation of the Constitution, and demonstrated an abuse of power.
The authorities rejected the candidates' documents, claiming that in registering their names last November they were ineligible to stand, the president of the republic having issued the decree to hold the elections within that particular three-month period (November 1996 - January 1997). This rule does not exist.
CHRLA also held that depriving eligible citizens from their right to run as candidates is a violation of Article 62 of the Constitution, which states that "citizens shall have the vote, can nominate [stand for election] and express their opinions in referendums according to the provisions of the law. Their participation in public life is a national duty."
The court affirmed in its ruling that the constitutional right to vote and stand for election is an absolute right that cannot be restricted by any conditions, or postponed without clear legal provision. The court also added that the legislature has chosen automatic registration of voters, meaning that any citizen can be registered on the electoral roll either automatically, by virtue of living in a particular constituency, or upon written request. The court stated that the prevention of those already registered before the presidential decree of January 27, 1997 (calling on citizens to cast their votes in the local elections) from voting or nominating themselves is considered a modification the voting lists, and therefore a violation of the law, in addition to being a violation of constitutional principles.
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