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Egypt court overturns political participation ban on Mubarak party members

[JURIST] The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters on Monday overturned a May decision that banned former leaders of the National Democratic Party (NDP) from running in the country's parliamentary elections. An Urgent Matters Court in May accused [AP report] the now-dissolved NDP of appointing corrupt governments, stating that allowing a political return for the former ruling party would bring danger to Egypt. The NDP was disbanded [AP report] and ordered to liquidate its assets by the Supreme Administrative Court in April 2011, following ousted president and NDP party chairman Hosni Mubarak's [Al Jazeera profile; JURIST news archive] fall from power. Many party leaders formed new parties or attached themselves to existing ones. Although the committee that drafted the country's new constitution in 2012 attempted to include an article that would ban NDP leaders from participating in politics for 10 years, the article was dropped after former president Mohammed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] was ousted. In its decision on Monday the appeals court said [Daily News Egypt report] that the lower court lacked the proper jurisdiction to rule on the matter, the plaintiff had failed to present any evidence of corruption that incriminated the leaders and the prior ruling violated the leaders' constitutional right to political participation. Members of the party still possess strong family and tribal networks, as well as a tight system of patronage within the country.

This is not the first time the party's political participation has been debated. Analysts in 2011 called [JURIST report] the disbandment of the NDP and the liquidation of its assets an important step in building the country's first multi-party system in over 30 years. In November 2011 the country's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced [JURIST report] its intention to ratify a law that would ban anyone found guilty of corruption from participating in politics, which would extend to those found guilty of abuse of power and include officials elected to parliament. Later that month the Egypt Supreme Administrative Court suspended [JURIST report] a verdict handed down by the Mansoura Administrative Court that prohibited former officials of the NDP to participate in the upcoming elections, allowing officials who joined other parties to continue their campaigns for office.

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