Text: H.Con.Res.284 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

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Referred in Senate (01/27/2006)

 
[Congressional Bills 109th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
[H. Con. Res. 284 Referred in Senate (RFS)]


109th CONGRESS
  2d Session
H. CON. RES. 284


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           December 19, 2005

                                Received

                            January 27, 2006

             Referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations

_______________________________________________________________________

                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION


 
Expressing the sense of Congress with respect to the 2005 presidential 
                 and parliamentary elections in Egypt.

Whereas promoting freedom and democracy is a foreign policy and national 
        security priority of the United States;
Whereas free, fair, and transparent elections constitute a foundation of any 
        meaningful democracy;
Whereas Egypt is the largest Arab nation comprising over half the Arab world's 
        population;
Whereas Congress has long supported Egypt as a partner for peace and stands 
        ready to support Egypt's emergence as a democracy and free market 
        economy;
Whereas a successful democracy in Egypt would definitely dispel the notion that 
        democracy cannot succeed in the Arab Muslim world;
Whereas in his 2005 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush stated 
        that ``the great and proud nation of Egypt, which showed the way toward 
        peace in the Middle East, can now show the way toward democracy in the 
        Middle East'';
Whereas in her June 20, 2005, remarks at the American University in Cairo, 
        Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated: ``[T]he Egyptian Government 
        must fulfill the promise it has made to its people--and to the entire 
        world--by giving its citizens the freedom to choose. Egypt's elections, 
        including the Parliamentary elections, must meet objective standards 
        that define every free election.'';
Whereas on February 26, 2005, Egyptian President Mubarak proposed to amend the 
        Egyptian Constitution to allow for Egypt's first ever multi-candidate 
        presidential election;
Whereas in May 2005, President Bush stated that Egypt's presidential election 
        should proceed with international monitors and with rules that allow for 
        a real campaign;
Whereas Egypt prohibited international monitoring in the presidential election, 
        calling such action an infringement on its national sovereignty;
Whereas domestic monitoring of the election became a major point of contention 
        between the government, the judiciary, and civil society organizations;
Whereas in May 2005, the Judges Club, an unofficial union for judges, took the 
        provisional decision to boycott the election if their demand for a truly 
        independent judiciary was not met;
Whereas the Judges Club initially insisted that the 9,000 to 10,000 judges were 
        in no position to monitor the election if plans proceeded for polling at 
        54,000 stations on one day;
Whereas the government responded to their demands by grouping polling stations 
        to decrease their number to about 10,000, more or less matching the 
        number of available judges;
Whereas on September 2, 2005, a majority of the general assembly of the Judges 
        Club decided that the judges would supervise the election and report any 
        irregularities;
Whereas several coalitions of Egyptian civil society organizations demanded 
        access to polling stations on election day and successfully secured 
        court rulings granting them such access;
Whereas the Presidential Election Council, citing its constitutional authority 
        to oversee the election process, reportedly ignored the court order for 
        several days, before they granted some nongovernmental organizations 
        access to polling stations a few hours before the polls opened;
Whereas the presidential campaign ran from August 17 to September 4, 2005;
Whereas the presidential election held on September 7, 2005, was largely 
        peaceful, but reportedly marred by low turnout, general confusion over 
        election procedures, alleged manipulation by government authorities, and 
        other inconsistencies;
Whereas the presidential election was a potentially important step toward 
        democratic reform in Egypt and a test of President Mubarak's pledge to 
        open the country's authoritarian political system;
Whereas Mr. Mubarak promised to allow during the presidential campaign a free 
        press and independent judiciary, lift emergency laws that stifle 
        political activity, reduce presidential powers in favor of a more freely 
        elected parliament, and allow a slow but steady transition to a liberal 
        democracy;
Whereas parliamentary elections were held in Egypt in November and December 
        2005;
Whereas several local human rights and civil society organizations issued a 
        joint statement declaring unease over the Egyptian Government's 
        criticism of independent judges, stating that the government was trying 
        to deprive the organizations of the right of free expression;
Whereas reports prepared by judges who monitored the parliamentary elections 
        indicated that numerous violations occurred in the second and third 
        rounds of voting, including the physical prevention of voters from 
        casting their votes, the closure of roads and streets leading to polling 
        stations, and assaults on several judges as they oversaw the elections 
        and protested the security agencies measures to prevent voters from 
        reaching polling stations;
Whereas other Egyptian nongovernmental election monitors also have complained 
        that security forces blocked thousands of eligible voters from entering 
        polling stations during the parliamentary elections;
Whereas poll monitors and human rights organizations reported that violence 
        initiated by Egyptian security forces, coupled with wide-scale arrests, 
        contributed to poor turnout across the country during the parliamentary 
        elections;
Whereas violence during the parliamentary elections, including reports of 
        excessive force by Egyptian security services, resulted in the deaths of 
        several demonstrators and the wounding of dozens more;
Whereas Ayman Nour, Mr. Mubarak's only serious challenger in the presidential 
        election, was declared in the parliamentary elections to have lost his 
        seat--in a Cairo district that elected him twice before--to a former 
        state security official with reported ties to President Mubarak;
Whereas it was reported that Mr. Nour, a secular liberal, was harassed 
        repeatedly by Mr. Mubarak's proxies and slandered by the Egyptian media, 
        and local election observers reported numerous irregularities in Mr. 
        Nour's Cairo district;
Whereas the Egyptian Government's apparent manipulation of the electoral system 
        resulted in a weakening of the secular opposition and a strengthening of 
        the Islamist opposition in Egypt; and
Whereas it is in the national interests of the United States and Egypt that 
        Egypt be governed by a truly representative, pluralist, and legitimate 
        national parliament: Now, therefore, be it
    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring),  
That Congress--
            (1) recognizes the presidential election held on September 
        7, 2005, as a potential first step toward greater political 
        reforms in Egypt;
            (2) expresses grave concern over the widely reported 
        irregularities during the Egyptian presidential election and 
        parliamentary elections held in November and December 2005, 
        including interference by Egyptian security forces, and the 
        apparent failure of the Government of Egypt to ensure that the 
        elections were free, fair, and transparent;
            (3) calls on the Government of Egypt to take immediate 
        steps to address these reported violations of the fundamental 
        freedoms of the Egyptian people and hold those responsible for 
        such violations accountable;
            (4) recognizes that the development of a democratically-
        elected representative and empowered Egyptian national 
        parliament is a fundamental reform needed to permit real 
        progress toward the rule of law and democracy in Egypt;
            (5) calls on the Government of Egypt to separate the 
        apparatus of the National Democratic Party from the operations 
        of government, to divest all government holdings in Egyptian 
        media, and to end the government monopoly over printing and 
        distribution of newspapers;
            (6) calls on the Government of Egypt to repeal the 1977 
        emergency law which took effect in 1981, as promised by 
        President Mubarak, and in the development of any future anti-
        terrorism legislation to allow peaceful, constitutional 
        political activities, including public meetings and 
        demonstrations, and to allow full parliamentary review of any 
        such legislation;
            (7) expresses disappointment over the failure of the 
        Government of Egypt to ensure that the presidential election 
        was free, fair, and transparent;
            (8) calls on the Government of Egypt, in future elections, 
        to--
                    (A) ensure supervision by the judiciary of the 
                election process across the country and at all levels;
                    (B) ensure the presence of accredited 
                representatives of all competing parties and 
                independent candidates at polling stations and during 
                the vote-counting; and
                    (C) allow local and international election monitors 
                full access and accreditation;
            (9) urges the President of the United States to take into 
        account the progress achieved by the Government of Egypt in 
        meeting the goals outlined in this resolution when 
        determining--
                    (A) the type and nature of United States diplomatic 
                engagement with the Government of Egypt; and
                    (B) the type and level of assistance to be 
                requested for the Government of Egypt;
            (10) given the responsibility of the Government of Egypt 
        for the outcome of the 2005 presidential and parliamentary 
        elections, calls on the Government of Egypt not to use the 
        strength of the Islamist opposition in Egypt to justify the 
        failure of the Egyptian Government to comply with its 
        international human rights obligations or to undertake the 
        reforms to which it has committed; and
            (11) urges the President and other officers of the 
        Government of the United States to speak with unmistakable 
        clarity in expressing the disappointment of the people and 
        Government of the United States with respect to the behavior of 
        the Government of Egypt during the 2005 presidential and 
        parliamentary elections.

            Passed the House of Representatives December 19 
      (legislative day, December 18), 2005.

            Attest:

                                                 KAREN L. HAAS,

                                                                 Clerk.

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