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Egypt court suspends verdict banning officials from election

The Egypt Supreme Administrative Court on Monday suspended [Al Ahram report] a verdict handed down last week by the Mansoura Administrative Court that prohibited former officials of the National Democratic Party (NDP) to participate in the upcoming election. As a result, most of the officials who joined other parties or plan to run independently are now allowed to continue their campaigns for the election that will begin on November 28. Parties and political forces had demanded [Al Ahram report, in Arabic] the implementation of rule of law and urged the court to prohibit former NDP officials from running in the election. They based their position on the involvement of those officials during the 30-year reign of ousted Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile; JURIST news archive] that, they claim, deprived Egyptian citizens of their free will. The court has not indicated when it will hand down its final verdict.

The November 28 election is considered the first free election following the overthrow [JURIST report] of Mubarak in February. Consequently, the upcoming elections have resulted in various legislative and court activities. This month, Egypt stated that it will amend its constitution [JURIST report] based on a court ruling from a week before in order to allow citizens living abroad to vote in the parliamentary election. In addition, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) [NYT backgrounder] announced that it will create a law that will ban [JURIST report] anyone found guilty of corruption from the election process. Mubarak himself is faced with charges of complicity in the deaths of more than 800 protesters [JURIST report] during the pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt [JURIST news archive]. His trial was adjourned [JURIST report] last month and will not resume until December 28. Also last month, an Egyptian court overturned [JURIST report] a ban prohibiting formation of religious-based political parties. Some restrictions, however, still exist in the election process such as prohibition of using religious slogans [JURIST report] during campaigns.

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