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Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court suspends embattled Constituent Assembly

Court rules in favour of lawsuit questioning constitutionally of the assembly tasked with drafting Egypt's constitution, moves case to State Council

Ahram Online, Tuesday 10 Apr 2012
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new constitution
Egyptian parliamentarians cast ballots to select a 100-member constituent assembly panel in March 2012 (Photo: AP)

The Supreme Administrative Court blocked Egypt's constituent assembly Tuesday after ruling in favour of a recent lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the formation of the 100-member constituent assembly. The case was referred to the Commissioner's Office at State Council, which would then have the authority to move the lawsuit to Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC).

A number of prominent lawyers filed the lawsuit against the parliament including Gad Nasser, professor of constitutional law at Cairo University, Mohamed Shehata, head of the Arab Centre for Transparency and Integrity, Sameh Ashour, the head of the Lawyers' Syndicate and presidential hopeful Khaled Ali.

They challenged the process of forming the assembly, which sees half the members chosen from parliament, arguing that parliamentarians cannot elect themselves according to a 1994 SCC ruling.

The Islamist-dominated parliament voted on 17 March to allocate 50 seats in the assembly to members of Parliament (MP) as well as allowing MPs to choose the remaining half from outside the legislative body.

The final member list sparked uproar from among the liberal and leftist forces when it revealed that Islamists had secured over 65 per cent of the assembly seats, including 50 members from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party and the Salafist Nour Party.

In protest more than a two-dozen members staged a mass walk out. Those who left included all the liberal and leftist representatives, as well as members of Egypt's official Islamic authority, Al-Azhar and the Coptic Curch. Several demonstrations were stage throughout the capital, as people objected to the domination of one single political force.

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Adill Hissan
11-04-2012 08:16pm
The first sign of true law and order in Egypt
This verdict by the supreme court of Egypt truly suggest that the Egyptian revolution of the youth has its genuine impact on the Supreme court which is the true guardian of the aspirations of the people of Egypt towards freedom and democracy. Adill Hissan @ahisan
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Jon Erland Madsen
10-04-2012 03:32pm
This is meant to be a revolution
You cannot make a revolution fully within the laws of the old regime. It should not matter too much who is in the constitutional assembly, as the new constitution would have to be approved by a referendum anyway. The present interference by the Mubarak nominated courts only works in favour of the military and the old regime.
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Free Lady
10-04-2012 02:24pm
Long live egypt , Long Live Freedom
I was feeling suffocated since I learned this constituent assembly nominations. 65 % from Islamists who will copy paste Saudi Sharia on us. Now I m breathing fresh air and feeling alive. I hope Supreme Constitutional Court will decide the matter in best of national interest not in favor of minority ruling party.
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Karim Hari
10-04-2012 10:56pm
Please take your medics. maybe you live in fear because you father live on ripping the people off. but the parliament is elected by the egyptian people.
10-04-2012 08:11pm
I am still holding my breath on Abu Ismail...
I can't wait wait until I hear a definitive news of his disqualification. This guy is a clown, a hypocrite and a liar

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