The number of hunger strikers in front of the Cabinet building rose on Saturday to 45, as part of a demonstration to ask Parliament to activate a law that could disqualify presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq. They now include activists Asmaa Mahfouz and Nawara Negm.
The protesters are on hunger strike to ask Parliament to activate the Political Isolation Law and apply it to Shafiq, a former prime minister under ousted leader Hosni Mubarak.
They said three MPs had declared a sit-in inside Parliament in solidarity. In addition, MP Zyad Elelaimy has urgently requested a briefing to discuss the protesters’ demands in Parliament.
The amendments to the law on the exercise of political rights, which were approved by Parliament and later by the ruling military council, strip political rights from anyone who served as vice president or prime minister under Mubarak during the 10-year period before he resigned on 11 February last year. This also would apply to anyone who served as president or secretary general of Mubarak’s now-dissolved National Democratic Party, or as members in its general or policy secretariats.
When the bill was approved by the military council in April, the Presidential Elections Commission excluded Shafiq from the presidential race, but then accepted his appeal against the decision and reinstated him in it. On 14 June, two days before the election runoff is due to start, the Supreme Constitutional Court will begin considering whether the law is constitutional.
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