Egypt Watch

Rajaei Attia is voted head of Egypt’s bar association beating pro-regime candidate

The general committee supervising the bar association elections announced the victory of lawyer Rajaei Attia as the head of the bar association after he beat his rival Sameh Ashour by more than 9,000 votes. Arguments took place at the syndicate headquarters immediately after the announcement of the final results of the elections after Ashour’s supporters chanted inside the union headquarters, “the captain is the captain, Ashour is the captain,” and “down [with] the rule of guide,” in reference to Attia’s link with the Muslim Brotherhood, although he is one of the group’s fiercest opponents. Eighteen candidates competed for the position of captain and 194 for the rest of the union’s seats. This was not the first time Sameh Ashour and Rajaei Attia competed for the bar association seat. The two rivals have fought three times before over nearly 20 years. Ashour won the title in his favour twice in 2011 and 2005, and both were defeated in the 2009 elections.

The elections took place amid anti-Ashour sentiment after his success in amending the bar association codes to allow himself to run in the elections for the third time in a row, while the previous law did not allow the captain to run for more than two consecutive terms. Ashour is known for his affiliation to the ruling regime and angered lawyers during his tenure due to the consistency of his decisions in line with the regime and the fact that he turned a blind eye to the violations that security services carry out against lawyers.