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Egypt MPs react to constitution court rulings with relief, dismay

Members of Egypt's Islamist-led People's Assembly voice mixed reactions to Thursday's controversial court rulings on parliamentary poll law, 'political disenfranchisement'

Ahram Online, Thursday 14 Jun 2012
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Members of parliament react to the constitution court ruling (Photo : AP)
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Reactions on the part of Egyptian MPs to Thursday's controversial High Constitutional Court rulings – which call for the dissolution of parliament and reject a Political Disenfranchisement Law – ranged from relief to anger.

On Thursday afternoon, Egypt's High Constitutional Court declared Egypt's Political Disenfranchisement Law – which had threatened presidential finalist and Mubarak-era PM Ahmed Shafiq with disqualification from the presidential race – unconstitutional. The ruling will allow Shafiq to contest the presidency against Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi in a runoff vote slated for this Saturday and Sunday.

A second ruling, meanwhile, found Egypt's Parliamentary Elections Law – which regulated last year's legislative polls – to be similarly unconstitutional. The verdict means that both the People's Assembly and the consultative Shura Council (the lower and upper houses of Egypt's parliament) will likely be dissolved in advance of fresh elections.  

MP Kamal Abu-Eita, who ran on the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)'s ticket but is of leftist inclinations, expressed satisfaction with the decisions. He said that the latter ruling dissolving Egypt's Islamist-led parliament would serve to "restore the balance of Egyptian political life, which had been monopolised by a single political current."

Abu-Eita went on to urge Egypt's revolutionary forces to "unite against Mubarak's prodigal son" – a reference to Shafiq – "and against Islamist political domination."

As for the ruling on the disenfranchisement law, MP Mostafa El-Naggar of the centrist Al-Adl Party told Ahram Online: "The unconstitutionality of the disenfranchisement law had been expected; now we're back to square one."

El-Naggar went on to say that the drafting of a new constitution must precede parliamentary and presidential elections. He added that liberal parties planned to discuss the latest turn of events at a series of meetings on Thursday and Friday.

Parliament Speaker Mohamed El-Beltagi, secretary-general of the Muslim Brotherhood's FJP, for his part, was considerably less sanguine about Thursday's court rulings.

"The High Constitutional Court ruling dissolving parliament is nothing less than a coup d'état," El-Beltagi was quoted as saying. He went on to charge Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces with "erasing the noblest phase of Egypt's history."

"This is the Egypt that the SCAF and Shafiq desire – one that I will never accept," El-Beltagy asserted.

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