On Saturday, Egypt's Interim President, Adly Mansour, announced a new election law regulating the upcoming presidential race. The decree will allow the election commission to set a date for the vote, expected to take place in April, and allow candidates to begin running. The election commission's decisions will now be legally protected against any form of review. According to the new law, even a candidate running unopposed would need to receive five percent of the vote. In addition, to be eligible, a candidate must collect 25,000 signatures. The move has already received criticism [AP report] from opponents of the interim government. Those who oppose the measure question whether the protection of the election commission's decisions is constitutional. The government claims, however, that it is simply aimed at providing the newly elected government legitimacy.
Egypt has dealt with political unrest since the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] began in 2011. In February deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi appeared in court, but his trial was adjourned [JURIST report] after the judge refused to remove the soundproof glass enclosure that Morsi was seated in. In January Egypt's Interim President Adly Mansour announced [JURIST report] that Egypt will hold presidential elections before conducting parliamentary elections. In January Egypt voted [JURIST report] to approve the new military-backed constitution by a margin of over 90 percent. In December the Egyptian Assembly approved [JURIST report] the finalized draft of the new constitution. The secular-based document reflects a shift in policy from the strongly Islamist-leaning document approved under former President Mohamed Morsi [BBC profile, JURIST news archive].