FILE - Headquarters of Journalists Syndicate in Cairo’s downtown FILE - Headquarters of Journalists Syndicate in Cairo’s downtown

Disagreements over upcoming Journalists Syndicate elections

Sat, Jan. 12, 2019
CAIRO - 12 January 2018: Midterm elections of the Journalists Syndicate will take place in March as the chairperson position will be contested in addition to half of the board seats currently kept by members whose four-year term is ending.

According to Article 37 of law no. 76/1970 on Journalists Syndicate establishment, the main requirements to stand for elections include:

The board consists of the chairperson and 12 members. Half of those must be journalists whose registration in the syndicate has not surpassed 15 years.

Any candidates for chairperson and board membership must be members of the Arab Socialist Union for at least 10 years, and who have not been subject to disciplinary action in the past three years.

The Arab Socialist Union was a political party founded by late President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1962, and was dissolved in late 1980s under former President Hosni Mubarak. Thus, that article of the law has not been put into effect when holding elections, and there are calls to annul it.

Disagreements

Journalists Syndicate Secretary General Hatem Zakaria stated that the elections may include the whole board seats as well. That has stirred debate as such measure is not supported by law.

Hatem Zakaria
FILE - Journalists Syndicate Secretary General Hatem Zakaria

A number of legal experts said that such decision will be valid, if the other six board members agree to resign. Applications submission will start on February 9.

Zakaria argues that such decision would inhibit any attempts to appeal the results of elections, and that risking of having neither a chairperson nor a board for a while. That is because some are appealing the syndicate’s law on midterm elections and calling for a general election.

The current chairman is Abdel Mohsen Salama who was elected in 2017. Salam chairs the state-owned Al Ahram Organization.
 
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