Egyptian High Court Dissolves Parliament

In a move seen as an attack on Islamic parties, Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court dissolved parliament on Wednesday, saying that a third of its members had been elected illegally.

The ruling by the court, which is comprised mostly of members sympathetic to former Hosni Mubarak, was called a “coup” by critics, and the military council that currently leads Egypt declared martial law in its wake.

In the ruling, the Supreme Constitutional Court said one-third of members had been elected improperly, because parties had been allowed to contest a bloc of seats set aside for independent candidates. Rather than invalidating the election of those candidates, the court ruled that “the makeup of the entire chamber is illegal and, consequently, it does not legally stand.”

The New York Times reported that Judge Maher Sami, a member of the court, had reported on Egyptian state television that the ruling would require the immediate dissolution of parliament and new elections.

“Egypt just witnessed the smoothest military coup,” wrote Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights. “We’d be outraged if we weren’t so exhausted.”

Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Doha Center agreed. In an interview with the New York Times, Hamid said, “From a democratic perspective, it is the worst possible outcome imaginable. The democratically elected Parliament was the biggest step in Egypt’s transition, and this casts the entire transition into doubt. It is an anti-democratic decision.”

The move was seen as one of a series taken by the court to check the power of Muslim Brotherhood. The People’s Assembly, the lower house of Parliament, was controlled by the Democratic Alliance for Egypt, a coalition of parties led by the Freedom and Justice Party, which was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood. The court recently ruled that former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, who served under Mubarak, could remain on the presidential ballot despite laws passed by parliament prohibiting Mubarak officials from seeking office.

The ruling significantly raises the stakes for Egypt’s presidential run-off election this weekend, in which Shafik is facing Mohamed Morsi of the Freedom and Justice Party. The new president will not have to deal with parliament, and will be able to influence new parliamentary elections.

The decision left a number of questions unanswered. Parliament had recently created a 100 member panel to write a permanent constitution. It is unclear whether that group will survive parliament’s dissolution. Additionally, the question of whether parliament will accept the ruling of the court is an open one; if they resist, it could set up a serious constitutional crisis in a country that has just recently taken its first steps toward democracy.

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Image Credit: Wikipedia

7 comments

Alex H.
Alex H6 years ago

Has anyone else noticed that there has never been democracy in the Middle East for at least 7000 years of recorded history?Islam and democracy simply cannot function as they are diametrically opposed philosophies.The idea of democracy is a pipedream perpertrated by the USA and its allies,to keep this area in a state of chaos so it can be easily controlled and plundered.While the tribes are fighting each other like they have always done(except when a benevolent or otherwise dictator kept them under control),the armaments manufacturers are making billions and while hundreds of thousands of civilians are being killed,the planet is being a bit de-populated,also on the powers-that-run-the world's agenda!Win,win for a few vested interests but certainly not the innocent and the gullible!

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Jen Matheson
Past Member 6 years ago

This is sad.

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Nadine Hudak
Nadine H6 years ago

thnx.

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Sandra W.
Past Member 6 years ago

Really confused here. If the country was governed by Islam how can it be democratic? You can't have both. According to this report its bad for Egypt that the government was gotten rid of when to my mind Islam is not democratic so therefore how can it be a bad thing? Doesn't make sense to me.

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Pogle S.
Pogle S6 years ago

What kind of democracy is this then?

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Vicky Pitchford
Vicky P6 years ago

hmm

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Bob P.
Bob P6 years ago

thanks for sharing

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