Egypt: court overturns ban on religious-based political party

An Egyptian court on Oct. 10 overturned a ban that prohibited presidential hopeful Ayman Nour from officially forming the Islamic-based political party al-Gama’a al-Islamiya. The decision will allow political parties previously banned because of their religious foundations to participate in the upcoming November parliamentary elections. The court found that Nour’s party, “Construction and Development,” should be allowed to participate in the elections because its founders consist of Muslims and non-Muslims and the party does not mandate the religion of its members.

The Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces two days earlier amended election rules to ban the use of religious slogans in campaigning. The Supreme Council stated that “[e]lectoral campaigns based on the use of religious slogans or on racial or gender segregation are banned,” adding that violators could be fined and face up to three months in jail. The new decree will have an immediate effect on the Muslim Brotherhood, whose traditional slogan, “Islam is the solution,” will be banned under the new electoral guidelines. The Muslim Brotherhood was officially declared legal in June for the first time since the powerful political organization’s inception nearly 80 years ago, but has been banned in Egypt since 1954.

From Jurist, Oct. 11. Used with permission.

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