Brotherhood’s slogan is illegal in elections, says official

An Egyptian official has said that the Muslim Brotherhood's insistence in using the slogan “Islam is the Solution” is illegal and breaks laws and standards regulating the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for 27 November.

“The Brotherhood violates the rules if it insists on using its slogan of ‘Islam is the Solution’,” Hany Mahmoud, president of the Election Coordination Committee (ECC) – a body created by the Egyptian cabinet – told Al-Masry Al-Youm.

The ECC was formed by the cabinet to coordinate with various ministries and authorities in the implementation of decisions taken by the High Elections Committee.

“The High Elections Committee has banned religious slogans in campaigning," added Mahmoud.

This month, Egypt's ruling military council amended election rules to ban the use of religious slogans, a move the Muslim Brotherhood said might prompt it to reconsider using its traditional campaign phrase "Islam is the solution."

The Brotherhood was banned under ousted President Hosni Mubarak but ran candidates as "independents" who could be identified on posters by the Islamist group's well-known slogan.

Many liberal politicians and Egyptians have been worried by the rising influence of the Brotherhood since the uprising. The group has sought to quell concerns by saying it wants a pluralist democracy and does not want to impose Islamic law.

“The insistence of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party on using the slogan 'Islam is the Solution' in the elections, despite the banning of religious slogans, will be on the table to be discussed in an upcoming meeting,” Mahmoud said.

Egyptian law bars political parties based on religion, just as it did under Mubarak. But the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party won approval by saying Islam is a "reference" and that it is a civil party that does not seek to impose Islamic law.

Mahmoud also said that the cabinet’s Information and Decision Support Center is conducting a survey in two weeks to assess voter turnout during the elections.

A previous survey by the center last June revealed that 77 percent of the sample would cast their votes, 56 percent believed the elections would be fair, while 20 doubted they would be fair unless they are held under judicial supervision.

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