Cassation Court vice president elected head of Judges Club

Mohamed Abdel Mohsen, the vice president of Egypt’s Court of Cassation, was elected head of its Judges Club, the committee overseeing the elections announced on Saturday.

The electoral list that Abdel Mohsen led won 10 of the 16 seats on the club’s board.

Elections took place yesterday with nine candidates competing for the presidential seat and 84 candidates for the board’s 16 seats, one of which is allocated for retired judges, with five for highest ranking judges, five for judges and heads of courts and five for members of the public prosecution.

Four electoral lists competed for the presidential position and the club’s board, with a number of independent candidates vying for the presidential spot as well, including judge Abdallah Fathy, who formerly served as interim president of the club, and judge Zakareya Shalash, the head of the Appeals Court.

Abdel Mohsen led the Judiciary Youth electoral list, while Mahmoud al-Sherif, the deputy justice minister for court affairs, Ahmed Nader, the deputy justice minister for health affairs, and Hesham Abou Alam, the vice president of the Court of Cassation, headed the other three lists.

The elections were held to select a new board for the club and a successor to its former president, controversial judge Ahmed al-Zend, who won elections in 2009 and 2012 before giving up his seat to serve as Justice Minister last year.

The vote had been delayed for over a year pending the court’s acceptance of an appeal revoking amendments made by Zend to the club’s bylaws, which resulted in the disqualification of several judges from elections. Zend’s amendments were repealed last May.

A number of judges saw the delay in the elections as an attempt by the outgoing board to continue to manage the club’s affairs for as long as possible.

Last June, Cairo’s Appeals Court rejected an appeal by an independent candidate that would further delay elections.

Local media reports indicated that there has been a push to hold elections in order to get rid of the current board, which is heavily influenced by Zend. The former justice minister resigned from his post in March after pressure from Parliament following comments he made about the Prophet Mohamed on a local talk show. The club’s board had issued a statement rejecting Zend’s departure.

The Judges Club was established in the late 1930s and has played important political functions throughout its history. A movement for judicial independence took place in 2006 under the leadership of then-President Zakareya Abdel Aziz, after judges were referred to an internal disciplinary council following evidence of vote rigging in parliamentary elections the year before.

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