Egypt’s ruling junta has approved a constitutional amendment which prevents the establishment of political parties based on religion and discrimination between citizens on grounds of origin, language or gender.
The amendment to Law 40 of 1977, which regulates the establishment of political parties, allows them to be founded by notification, reported the Egyptian Al-Masry Al-Youm on Wednesday.
A notification of establishment of a party that is signed by 1,000 founding members needs to be presented to the upper house of Egypt’s parliament, Shura Council’s Political Parties Affairs Committee (PAC).
The party can begin political activities provided that it receives no objection from PAC.
The new party’s founders must then, at their own expense, publish their names in two broadly circulated daily newspapers within eight days of submitting the notification.
Under the new law, the establishment of political parties based on religious or geographical grounds, or discrimination between citizens on grounds of sex, origin, language, religion or creed is forbidden.
The new law also prohibits political parties with foreign affiliations from being founded, and it bans donations of any kind from foreign persons. It says parties can be self-funded through non-commercial activities under the condition that their main goal is to serve the principles of the party.
The regime of the ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak used to control the establishment of parties through PAC, which prevented parties from exercising political activities.
On February 11, Mubarak was forced to step down following nationwide protests that demanded an end to his longtime rule.
Around 300 people have reportedly lost their lives during the clashes with the Egyptian security forces, while many others have also been wounded as a result of the government’s crackdown on anti-government protesters.