By Tamim Elyan
CAIRO: The Engineers’ Syndicate announced Monday that it will call its general assembly on Jan. 10 to decide on a board election date, the first since the syndicate fell under judiciary guardianship in 1995.
Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) recently issued a final ruling that deemed Professional Syndicates’ Law no. 100 of 1993 — a law which governs the election process of syndicates — to be unconstitutional. The delivery of the verdict invalidated a wide array of incumbent syndicate boards, and required all professional syndicates to hold new elections to establish legitimate boards.
“This ruling addresses our [guardianship] problem, and we are now free to hold elections for the first time,” Omar Abdallah, an Engineers’ Syndicate board member, told Daily News Egypt.
The Engineers’ Syndicate has been under guardianship for the past 15 years, governed by a Judiciary Guardianship Committee.
“The ruling annuls guardianship automatically and we would gain control over our financial affairs through an elected board,” Abdallah said.
Engineers recently escalated legal efforts to end judicial guardianship over the syndicate, threatening to take their case to international organizations.
According to Abdallah, the High Administrative Court is due on Jan 10 to rule on an appeal pushed forward by the “Engineers Against Guardianship” movement, demanding that the head of the judicial committee — the entity responsible for syndicate elections — implement the SCC’s recent court ruling to end syndicate guardianship.
Another Engineers’ Syndicate member recently filed a lawsuit before the Administrative Court against the syndicate’s financial and administrative affairs officer, demanding that the Engineers’ Syndicates’ annual budget since 1995 be released.
According to the overturned Law no. 100 and Law no. 105 of 1993, syndicates’ elections can only be initiated by a South Cairo judge rather than by the internal bylaws of each syndicate.
Under the terms of the recently overturned law, syndicate board election results were only legitimate if the votes of at least 50 percent of syndicate members were received. If less than 50 percent of members participated in the voting process, another election would be held two weeks later in which 30 percent of syndicate members were obligated to attend. If still less than 50 percent of members’ votes were received, a board of judges was appointed to run the syndicate.
Other than the syndicates for lawyers, journalists, actors and musicians, no other syndicates have witnessed board elections in over 15 years.