Egypt bans use of religious slogans in elections

[JURIST] The Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces [NYT backgrounder] on Saturday amended election rules to ban the use of religious slogans in campaigning. The Supreme Council stated that "[e]lectoral campaigns based on the use of religious slogans or on racial or gender segregation are banned," adding that violators could be fined and face up to three months in jail. The new decree will have an immediate effect on the Muslim Brotherhood [party website; JURIST news archive] whose traditional slogan, "Islam is the solution," will be banned under the new electoral guidelines. A Muslim Brotherhood official noted that while the "[t]he slogan is a way of life for us ... it isn't necessarily an electoral slogan." However, the official also said the Muslim Brotherhood leadership is reconsidering their use of the phrase. Voting in a parliamentary election starts in the country on November 28.

In March, Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced that it would lift the state of emergency [JURIST report] before parliamentary polls were to be held. The election announcement came a week after an overwhelming majority of Egyptians voted to approve several constitutional amendments [JURIST report] in a national referendum. The majority approval is considered by some to be a milestone [JURIST comment] for Egypt during its transition to a democratic society following the national uprising [JURIST news archive] against former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak [Al Jezeera profile]. Both the National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood supported the amendments to the Egyptian Constitution [text], which include lowering the presidential term limit and mandating new criteria for potential presidential candidates.

 

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