Armed Forces rejects law allowing conscription evaders to run for Parliament

A military source told Al-Masry Al-Youm on Saturday that commanders from the Armed Forces reject a bill that would allow those who evade military conscription to run in upcoming parliamentary elections.

“Defending the country is a sacred and compulsory duty and its evaders shall not be representatives of the people,” the source said. “The draft law will not be passed.”

The Shura Council Legislative Committee agreed on Thursday on Article 5 of the election law submitted by the government. The article states that any candidate for Parliament should be at least 25 years old on the of their nomination, should have completed basic education, and should have completed compulsory military service or been exempted.

However, the article also didn’t explicitly ban conscription evaders from running, and indicated that someone who paid the fine or served prison time for evading conscription could still run for elections.

The source added that Defense Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and all members of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces would reject any law allowing conscription evaders to run for any elections.

Sisi spoke with Mamdouh Shahin, the ministry assistant for legal and constitutional affairs, and told him that he flatly rejected the bill, saying that “escaping conscription is a major crime for the Armed Forces and is considered [treason] in time of war, and may be punishable by death”

Shahin was quoted by Al-Masry Al-Youm earlier on Saturday as saying that the Shura Council Legislative Committee has finalized the draft law regulating the election process, and that the draft didn’t ban conscription evaders from running for Parliament.

He added that such a law could encourage evasion of military service among young people. He also reportedly showed committee members a letter sent by the now-dissolved National Democratic Party to the Defense in 2010 saying that some people who did not perform military service should be allowed to run for Parliament.

Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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