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Dissolution of People's Assembly deals blow to Egypt’s Brotherhood

Muslim Brotherhood suffers major setback after People’s Assembly is dissolved by order of Egypt's High Constitutional Court

Gamal Essam El-Din , Friday 15 Jun 2012
Egypt
A general view for the first Egyptian parliament session after the revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak in Cairo.(Photo: Reuters)
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When the Islamist-led People’s Assembly – the lower house of Egypt's parliament – convened for the first time on 23 January, many expected that it would not last long. Constitutional law professors agreed that the assembly would likely soon be dissolved because the law that regulated its election was clearly discriminatory against independent candidates, allowing the Muslim Brotherhood to replace ousted President Hosni Mubarak’s now-defunct National Democratic Party (NDP) as the country's premier political power.

Amr Hashem Rabie, a political analyst at the Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies, says the Brotherhood first exerted pressure on the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) to begin the process of democratic transition by holding parliamentary elections  ahead of  writing the constitution.

"This went against the wishes of secular forces, which saw that the writing of the constitution should precede elections and that, if elections were held first, the results would mainly serve the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood and give it a sweeping majority," said Rabie.

Worse, he added, the Brotherhood also pressed hard to force the SCAF to scrap a draft law that allocated 50 per cent of the seats in parliament to independent candidates and 50 per cent to party-based candidates, in favour of a law allocating two thirds of seats to party-based candidates and only one third to independents.

"Although constitutional law professors complained that this was unconstitutional, the SCAF responded, and even agreed, that the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and other parties be allowed to contest seats reserved for independents," said Rabie.

On Thursday, the Muslim Brotherhood paid the price when Egypt's High Constitutional Court (HCC) ordered the dissolution of the People’s Assembly. According to Rabie, the group's domineering tactics in the last five months are primarily to blame for the dissolution of parliament.

The Brotherhood, for its part, insists that the HCC’s ruling was political and came as a result of the group's severe criticisms of the SCAF and judiciary.

"This is absolutely untrue and conflicts with the widespread conviction among many Egyptians that the Parliamentary Election Law was tailored to serve the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood," said Hassan Abu-Taleb, another Ahram political analyst. According to Abu-Taleb, "We gained nothing from this parliament except the conviction that Islamists are far worse than Mubarak’s NDP stalwarts in their desire to control political power in Egypt."

He added: "Both aim to have a majority in parliament and both use the same tactics, especially tailoring unconstitutional laws."

Abu-Taleb believes that the HCC ruling is clear in that the People’s Assembly cannot meet again. "This will bring us back to the correct path: drafting a constitution ahead of parliamentary elections," he said.

This, Abu-Taleb added, will ensure that "Islamists will not be able any longer to impose their religious agenda on the constitution, even if their candidate, Mohamed Morsi, wins the presidential election."

He went on: "The Brotherhood lost almost 90 per cent of its power after parliament was dissolved. Even if Morsi is elected, he will be a lame-duck president."

On Friday, the general secretariat of the People’s Assembly received an official letter from the SCAF stating that "parliamentarians are no longer allowed to enter the assembly building since Thursday's HCC ruling was clear that the assembly has been made invalid. This order must be implemented immediately."

The People’s Assembly had been scheduled to discuss the 2012/13 state budget and development plan next Tuesday. "After the assembly was dissolved, the budget and plan will have to be ratified by the SCAF, which is now the main legislator in Egypt," said Abu-Taleb.

Although the HCC has said that its ruling does not apply to the Shura Council – the upper consultative house of parliament – Abu-Taleb believes that the upper house, too, could soon be dissolved.

"The law, which brought about the downfall of the People’s Assembly, could also hit the Shura Council," said Abu-Taleb, adding that "if a lawyer was file an appeal before the administrative court requesting the dissolution of the Shura Council, the court would likely accept it and refer it to the HCC."

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Bahloulun
16-06-2012 05:33pm
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DEmocracy
I am pleased Egypt is moving forward and of course there will be bumps, humps and cracks along the road. it is good that the justice dept has taken its basic role in solving disputes rather the president making decision according to his mood or interest.
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5



Luiz
16-06-2012 12:49am
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4+
Fake liberals
After two years in Egypt, I can say, as a non-Western Christian, that I am deeply disappointed with the so-called secular forces in this country, for the following reasons: - they seem unable to grasp that a legitimate Constitution is written by representatives elected by the people or by individuals chosen by those representatives; it is not possible to write a Constitution ahead of going to the polls (see Tunisia, as the closest example, not to mention many other countries); - The law on the parliamentary elections was a result of pressure not only from the MB, but also from many liberals, to prevent NDP remnants from being elected; - the MB was unjustly denied the right to form a government; to accuse them of trying to monopolize domestic policy is absurd; - the so-called secular forces seem to live in denial about the Egyptian reality; whenever I hear a self-appointed liberal say something like "my country is secular", it reminds me of South Africans of 30 years ago s
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4



Modern_Humaniora
15-06-2012 08:47pm
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2+
Mistake?
Develop and mistake stick together. Every developer knows that. You can't develop anything without mistake. Among politicians the ability to develop is rare. But I am convinced that The Brotherhood is the only political force in Egypt today who have the ability to develop Egypt. Did the former regime develop Egypt? No, because they didn't have the ability, nor the will, to develop large systems, and this, take a look around the world, is more usual than the opposite competence...
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3



Free Lady
15-06-2012 08:43pm
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12+
Chance of a Century
MB win was a mile stone in their hundred year old history. It was closest they could reach to implement their kind of Sharia on majority of Egyptians. But by grace of Allah this dream is a awful night mare for them after this ruling. Now they will never be able to gain this type of majority again. MB slogan for Islamic Sharia proved to be hollow and unacceptable for majority of Egyptians. The real face and Sharia of MB and Salafist is exposed to Egyptians. They have let down not only to Egyptians but also their foreign backers and donors. Now we have new political parties with more liberal and secular agenda. People will have several options to choose in next elections contrary to last elections . In next set up Al Azhar will be main source of Islamic Sharia and laws. We don't need any imported Sharia and scholars when we have best in world. Islam is religion of peace, love, harmony and equal rights for all despite of their gender or religious believes. It has nothing to do with kill
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2



Nafez Suleiman
15-06-2012 08:36pm
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The Islamists will make a comeback soon
The Islamists will win any elections in Egyt. The anti-Islam forces may be happy now that the military has raped the will of the people, but soon they will be depressed because the Islamists will win again, and again and again. Do you really think the 80 million Muslims of Egypt would elect a communist as their president? Besides, you always quote "experts" who hate Islam like Abu Taleb and support dictatorship.
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1



Abdul Meguid
15-06-2012 08:25pm
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the court is a SHAM
THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT TELL THE TEUTH: It is clear the dissolution of the parliament has nothing to do with the rule of law, it is a vendetta act directed at the political opponents of the Mubarak regime. Had the communists or liberals or even Nasserits won the legislative elections, the so-called constitutional court would have never made the decision. It is a political, not judicial, decision. This site insults people's intelligence.
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