Shura Council Speaker Safwat el-Sherif told parliamentary members not to endorse independent presidential candidates, stating that they should reserve their endorsements for candidates affiliated with parties that “possess political, economic and social programs.”
In 2007, a clause was inserted into Article 76 of the Constitution stipulating that independent presidential candidates need the endorsement of at least 250 elected members of parliament and local municipal councils, of which 90 must come from both houses of parliament. It is widely believed that the government inserted the clause to prevent independent candidates–such as National Association for Change candidate Mahmoud ElBaradei–from running for president.
El-Sherif’s statements came at a meeting with select members of the Shura Council on Tuesday. During the meeting, El-Sherif described the restrictions imposed by Article 76 on the nomination of presidential candidates as “a safeguard” to guarantee that the most suitable individual becomes president.
When asked why the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) formed a government consisting of a large number of businessman with little political experience, el-Sherif said he preferred that a minister be a professional politician so that he would know the sentiments of the street and the needs of the people. He noted, however, that developing countries like Egypt often chose technocratic ministers with specific areas of expertise.
Alluding to the recent scandal involving former housing minister Ibrahim Suliman, El-Sherif stated the need for legislation to clearly separate ministers’ public responsibilities from their personal interests.
The parliamentary speaker attacked those who he said were trying to push Egypt into military confrontation with the Nile Basin states to preserve Egypt’s share of the river’s water. “It is politically stupid to call on us to lose our composure over this issue, since our historical rights are protected by international agreements,” el-Sherif declared.
Translated from the Arabic Edition.