Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court to look into parliamentary elections laws

Ahram Online , Tuesday 24 Feb 2015

If the court finds the laws to be unconstitutional, Egypt's parliamentary elections could be delayed

Empty Egyptian parliament
File Photo: Empty Egyptian parliament before the resume of its activities on Tuesday, Cairo, Egypt (Photo: AP)

Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) is expected to look into the constitutionality of three laws regulating the country's parliamentary elections on Wednesday, in a ruling that could delay voting set to start on 21 March.

March's parliamentary elections are the third and final step in a political roadmap set forth by the Egyptian army following the ouster of former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July 2013, after a vote to ratify the constitution in January 2014 and presidential elections in June 2014.

Egypt has been without a parliament for three years, after the house of representatives elected in late 2011 was dissolved in June 2012, following a court ruling that judged the law that regulated its election to be unconstitutional.

The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, along with Salafist parties and independent Islamist members of parliament, held the majority in the last parliament.

Until a newly elected parliament convenes, the president holds all legislative powers. 

The SCC's Board of Commissioners last Saturday gave a non-binding opinion that the House of Representatives Law, Political Rights Law and Parliamentary Constituencies Law were unconstitutional.

A 12-panel judge at the SCC has been mandated to make its final verdict regarding the laws on 3 March 2015.

If they find the laws to be unconstitutional, the upcoming parliamentary elections are expected to be delayed until these laws are amended.

The SCC has traditionally adopted the recommendations of its advisory board.

Meanwhile, the head of the Higher Election Committee (HEC) Ayman Abbass on Sunday said that the committee is highly committed to implementing the court rulings as soon as possible to proceed with the elections.

According to the current schedule, the first stage of the vote is to take place from 21 to 22 March for expats and from 22 to 23 for Egypt residents.

The second stage is to take place from 25 to 26 April for expats and from 26 to 27 April for Egypt residents.

According the current Parliamentary Constituencies Law, passed in December 2014, Egypt's new parliament is to comprise 567 members of parliament, with 420 independents and 120 party-based deputies. Up to 27 members are to be appointed by the president.

About 7,416 candidates successfully ‎registered to run in Egypt's upcoming parliamentary ‎elections, read a statement HEC issued on Sunday.

"Of these, 4,836 hoped to stand as ‎independents and 2,580 on party lists," Omar Marawan, the ‎spokesman of the Election Committee, said in a statement. He ‎also indicated that "949 registered as ‎female candidates."‎

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