On Thursday, Egypt’s National Election Authority (NEA) denied allegations from lawyer Khaled Ali, who withdrew from the presidential race on Wednesday, when he described the election timeline as “unjust” and accused the authority of preventing him from receiving his endorsements signed by the citizens.
The NEA authority assured in a statement on Thursday that the election timeline was set in accordance with the 2014 constitution, which stipulates that “the procedures for electing the President of the Republic begin at least 120 days before the end of the presidential term. The result is to be announced at least 30 days before the end of term.”
“The NEA materialized its vision to set the timeline of the electoral process so as to guarantee equal chances for all candidates,” the statement added.
As for the endorsements, the NEA clarified that the candidate himself or his representative is the one to submit forms of endorsements that he received from the citizens to the NEA, saying “it all depends on the candidate to shoulder the responsibility of submitting his endorsement forms to the NEA.”
As per the NEA requirements, a candidate shall submit no less than 25,000 endorsement forms signed by citizens and registered at the notaries and real estate registration offices nationwide to run for president.
During a press conference on Wednesday, Khaled Ali said that the election timeline, which is set by the ENA, is “unjust,” accusing the authority of refusing to hand him the endorsements he received from the public that support him in the presidential election due in March.
Khaled Ali declared that he will not run for president in the upcoming election, saying “in the light of the latest developments on the Egyptian political scene, I decided that I will pull out of the presidential race.”
Ali is the second potential candidate who decided to retreat from the presidential bid; on January, 7, 2018, former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik announced that he will not run for president, explaining that he is not “the ideal person to lead the nation at the present moment.”
Also, former Military Chief of Staff Sami Anan, who announced his intention to run for president, was removed from the voters’ database over charges of “forgery”.
The first round of the presidential elections in Egypt will take place between March 26 and 28, and the second round between April 24 and 28, the NEA announced in a televised statement on January 8.
Here is the full National Elections Authority statement:
Stemming from the National Elections Authority’s absolute keenness to completely adhere to the provisions of the Egyptian Constitution and the current laws with all its resolutions and procedures regarding the running and monitoring the presidential elections as well as the Authority’s unshakable belief that all Egyptian citizens have the right to be aware of all the official facts and figures, and in light of the recent statements made by lawyer Khaled Ali pertaining to the presidential elections timetable set forth and then announced by the National Elections Authority (NEA) on January 8, 2018 and what he described as “rejection” by the NEA to give him the endorsement that he had already received from all Public notaries and real state registration offices across Egypt, the NEA found it is incumbent upon itself to clarify the following:
First: Article (3) of Law No.198/2017 of the National Elections Authority stipulates the following:
Item (1): The NEA is officially and exclusively mandated with issuing all resolutions regulating the process of elections and referendums by virtue of law and according to all internationally-acknowledge rules and regulations.
Item (3): The NEA is set to call on voters to cast their ballots in elections and referendums whose timetables set forth respectively in accordance with the Constitution. In this vein, Article (140) of Egypt’s constitution states that the procedures of the presidential elections begin at least 120 days before the end of the incumbent president’s term. The result is ideally announced at least 30 days before the end of his term.
According to all the above-mentioned, the NEA asserts that Egypt’s constitution, which was issued in 2014 after being approved by the Egyptian people in a public referendum, has already set a clear timeline for the presidential elections. Being the sole authority mandated with supervising the elections, the NEA issued its resolution No. 2/2018 in line with the provisions of the constitution and thus abides by the respective deadlines set by the constitution in this regard.
The NEA materialized its vision to see the timeline of the electoral process progressing in the way that guarantees equal chances for all candidates.
As for what has been described by lawyer Khaled Ali as “rejection” by the NEA to give him the endorsements he had already received from all public notaries and real estate registration offices across Egypt, the NEA is so keen to clarify the following:
Paragraph 2 of Article (12) of Law No. 22/2014 on the regulation of the presidential elections states the following: the candidacy application shall be submitted to the NEA and must include the form established by the NEA and within the period determined by the NEA; the candidacy application must be submitted with the documents ratified by the NEA, particularly the forms of support endorsements of the candidate.
Accordingly and by virtue of the above-mentioned article, law stipulates that the candidate only or his legal representative are only the ones who are responsible to submit the endorsements to the NEA, and thus can proceed to file his candidacy papers.
The NEA has an automated system that connects all public notaries and real estate registration offices that are mandated with issuing forms of endorsements together; this automated system only states the number of the potential candidates who received endorsement across Egypt as well as the number of citizens who filed the forms of endorsement. Henceforth, the candidates must take it upon themselves to submit his endorsements to the NEA.
The NEA completely abides by all the procedures it adopts and adheres to all the resolutions it issues, Item (3) of Law No. 2/2018 issued by the NEA, which tackles the timetable of the presidential elections and states that the preliminary list of candidates, along with the number of endorsements or support documents they received and that they shall be published in both al-Ahram and Al-Akhbar newspapers on Wednesday January 31, 2018