With the promulgation of the Act Amending the Law on the Exercise of Political Rights, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces seems intent on advancing political life in Egypt.
An insight into the amendments indicates the gains ensured, which include:
1. Complete judicial supervision of the vote
The Supreme Elections Commission (SEC) shall oversee the voting process starting with the vetting of voters' lists until the announcement of the final results.
The membership of the SEC shall be confined only to judges.
There shall be a judge to each ballot box. Meanwhile, a judge may be commissioned to oversee more than one elections committee with a maximum of three, provided that all boxes are in sight.
Parliamentary elections shall be held over two or three stages to guarantee that a judge shall stand on each ballot box.
The SEC is a permanent commission, the assignments of which shall not be confined to election periods.
A standing technical secretariat shall be established to assist the SEC in fulfilling its assignments.
The role of the Ministry of Interior shall be restricted to securing balloting stations throughout the country.
2. Voters shall use their electronic national ID cards as the only document with which to prove their identity. A new database will be established to list eligible voters using data from the Ministry of Interior's Civil Affairs Authority.
3. The SEC may as deemed appropriate allow the presence to monitor the elections of Egyptian and foreign civil society organizations.
4. Members of the Police and Armed Forces are not entitled to vote while in service.
5. Although the amendments failed to explicitly ascertain the right of vote to Egyptians abroad, the presence of Article I of Law Number 73 of 1956 as is entitles all Egyptians to exercising political rights, which means the SEC will study the possibility of the participation of Egyptians abroad in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections. The same will apply to women's quota, the future of which will be determined upon deciding the elections system.