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National Democratic Party Ban Case

Court / Presiding Judge

First Review: Cairo Court for Urgent Matters/Judge Kareem Hazem
Second Review: Cairo Appeals Court for Urgent Matters

Procedural History

On May 6, 2014, the court issued its ban. On July 14, 2014, the court lifted its ban upon second review.

Verdict

The court banned leaders of the National Democratic Party from running in presidential, parliamentary, and municipal elections; about two months later, the ban was lifted.

Summary of Reasoning

In explaining the ban, the court argued that the party played a role in appointing corrupt governments, drafting laws that contradicted the constitution, and delaying the implementation of court verdicts. The court also argued that the return of the NDP to political life would “endanger” Egypt. It further stated that because the party was dissolved upon the people’s popular demands, its leaders should be prevented from taking part in future elections. In overturning the ban, the appeal court said the Cairo Court for Urgent Matters did not have jurisdiction to make the original ruling, which should have been made by an administrative court.

Anecdotal Notes

The State Council had dissolved the NDP in 2011 and ordered the confiscation of its assets. A political isolation law banning NDP members from running for office was drafted by the Islamist Wasat Party and issued in 2011, but it was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Constitutional Court in June 2012. A similar provision was put forth in the 2012 Constitution, but the document was eventually abrogated in July 2013 with the removal of former president Muhammad Morsi. When the court issued its ban in May 2014, former NDP member Nabil Luqa Babawi challenged the verdict and eventually achieved a result in his favor.

Legal & Judicial Implications

Starting in 2013, the Urgent Matters Court, originally established to be a temporary and immediate court for administrative relief, began to issue political verdicts that some legal scholars argued to be in the purview of the criminal or constitutional courts. The designation by the court came at a time of serious questions regarding the politicization of the judiciary.