Egyptian court rules political isolation and election laws unconstitutional

News article, posted 06.14.2012, from Egypt, in:
Egyptian court rules political isolation and election laws unconstitutional (Photo: Al-Masry Al-Youm)

The Supreme Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that a law governing parliamentary elections is unconstitutional in a landmark case that could result in the dissolution of Parliament.

It is unclear whether new elections will be held for single-winner seats, which make up one-third of Parliament and were deemed to have been elected illegally, or if the entire legislature may be disbanded.

Following an approximately three-hour hearing, Egypt's highest court also struck down the Political Isolation Law that strips top ex-officials of political rights, allowing former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq to continue his bid for president.

Acting as the country’s executive power, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces amended the parliamentary elections law several times. At issue is the last amendment, which reversed an earlier stipulation that parties could not compete for single-winner seats in the elections that began last fall. 

Protesters outside the court erupted when the verdict was announced, chanting "The people want the judiciary to be purged." They said that the ruling promises a "second revolution."

People's Assembly Speaker Saad al-Katatny of the Freedom and Justice Party was among those elected in a single-winner race.

Before the ruling, liberal MP Mohamed Abou Hamed wrote on Twitter that he hopes Parliament is dissolved, as the current body is "not worthy of Egypt."

The Supreme Constitutional Court's decisions cannot be appealed.

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