Hussein Mohamed Ibrahim, vice chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc, presented to parliament a new bill drafted by constitutional scholar Yahya Al-Gamal to ban political parties established on religious or sectarian basis.
Ibrahim demanded in his proposal that the right of forming parties should be equally granted to all citizens within the constitutional boundaries. The draft bill abolishes the parties committee which approves new parties, requiring only the notification of the Interior Ministry upon establishing the party. However, it sets rules for establishing parties, including that the party’s founders must not have any judges against them, and they must not be active members of the judiciary, military, police or the diplomatic corps. It also requires a minimum of 50 literate founders with at least half of them university graduates in order to form a new party.
The bill bans forming parties aiming at establishing armed militias or those who discriminate in their membership according to religious or sectarian bases. The bill allows the Interior Ministry to file a lawsuit through the Administrative Court if it believes, according to valid reasons, that the conditions for establishing a certain party aren’t met. It imposes punishments up to one year in prison or a fine up to 5 thousand pounds against those violating these rules.
The bill proposed by the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc includes 20 articles.
The eleventh article bans wiretapping parties’ communications without a court order. It also prohibits searching parties’ headquarters except upon a decision from the authorised attorney general.
The thirteenth article allows the parties to issue, without restrictions, one or more newspapers to express their views and promote their principles among the public.
Ibrahim pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood demanded repeatedly establishing a civilian party and that the proposed bill confirms this attitude. He described the parties court ruling to reject appeals to form 13 political parties all at once, as a blow to democracy in Egypt which confirms the regime’s tyranny against the Egyptian opposition.