SCC delays decision on constitutionality of Egypt Parliament

Ahram Online , Sunday 6 May 2012

Constitutional court on Sunday postpones final decision on constitutionality - or lack thereof - of Egypt's first post-Mubarak Parliament

File image of Egyptian People's Assembly (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) on Sunday announced that it would not present its anticipated report on the alleged unconstitutionality of Egypt’s current Parliament for another month.

On Sunday, the SCC committee devoted to handling the case listened to arguments in favour of the unconstitutionality of Egypt’s parliamentary elections law, which lawyers say gave candidates running on party-lists an unfair advantage over their independent counterparts in recent parliamentary elections.

The elections law, which was approved by Egypt’s ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), had allowed members of political parties to compete for parliamentary seats reserved for individual candidacies. According to critics, the practice violated the rights of independent contenders, who were barred from vying for seats set aside for party-list candidates.

The court stated that relevant documents were still being compiled, while previous rulings on the issue were still being studied.

In February, Egypt's State Administrative Court referred several articles of the law pertaining to Parliament to Egypt’s Constitutional Court for a final verdict on the matter.  

The issue has been one of several ongoing crises between the SCAF-appointed government of Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri and Egypt’s Islamist-dominated Parliament in recent months, during which both sides have questioned each other’s legitimacy.

For several weeks, the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) has called on the SCAF to dismiss the El-Ganzouri government to allow the parliamentary majority to appoint a new one its place. The military council, however, as the country’s highest political authority, has repeatedly rejected the idea.  

On 30 April, Parliament Speaker Saad El-Katatni announced a one-week suspension of all parliamentary activity to protest the SCAF’s refusal to dismiss the government. Parliament formally resumed its activities on Sunday.

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