06/14/2012, 00.00
EGYPT

Egypt's Supreme Court dissolves Islamist-dominated parliament

For supreme justices, the election law that excluded members from the old regime was unconstitutional. Fresh elections could take place in two months. For a Catholic Church spokesman, Egypt now has an opportunity for real elections, free from Islamist parties' vote rigging. However, fears of a military coup persist.

Cairo (AsiaNews) - The Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court has ruled that the parliamentary elections held between November 2011 and January 2012 are unconstitutional. The country's highest court found that the law that barred members of the National Democratic Party, former President Mubarak's party, was unconstitutional and that it violated civil rights. The ruling means that Ahmed Shafiq, a former prime minister under the old regime, can participate in the runoff election against Mohammed Morsy, who represents the Muslim Brotherhood. Had Shafiq been excluded, Morsy would have been the winner by default in the presidential election.

"We are back to square one," said Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church. "This is a good opportunity for pro-democracy movements and young people Jasmine Revolution youth. By weakening the power of the Muslim Brotherhood and allowing for fresh fraud-free elections, the military can reconcile itself with the population.  Now we must wait for the results of the presidential elections, which will be certainly won by Shafiq."

This morning the Court ruled that all uninominal seats, one third of parliament, are unconstitutional. In the afternoon, the Court's vice president, Justice Maher Samy announced that the elections to all seats are null and void because the law denied some citizens the right to run for office.

General Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, is expected to make a statement and announce a date for new elections. The dissolution of parliament means that the constituent assembly agreed upon on Monday is also dissolved.

The decision of the Supreme Constitutional Court stems from a number suits filed by members and parties associated with the old regime. Although they had not been accused of any crime, they were allowed to run only as independents. This gave Islamist parties an advantage because they are better organised and well funded by Gulf States, especially Saudi Arabia.

According to Nagui Damian, a young Coptic man who played a leading role in the Jasmine Revolution, "The country is at a turning point. We can start anew, or go back to the old system. We young people of the revolution are caught between the Muslim Brotherhood and the old regime."

Despite the danger of destabilisation, Nagui Damian believes that people now realise that the Muslim Brotherhood is a real danger. Its members lied and changed their election platform several times, confusing voters and creating panic among religious minorities. Instead of trying to mediate among factions, they have tried to monopolise power right away, thus causing their own downfall." (S.C.)

 

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