ElBaradei warns against choosing president without parliament, constitution

Ahram Online, Thursday 14 Jun 2012

After court verdict dissolving People's Assembly, ElBaradei warns that presidential polls held in absence of both parliament and constitution would give Egypt's next president near-dictatorial powers

Mohamed El-Baradei (Photo: Ahram)

Egyptian reform campaigner and onetime presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei said Thursday that electing a president in the absence of a constitution or parliament would mean the election of a president with near-dictatorial powers.

Speaking on Twitter, the Nobel Prize laureate and former chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency proposed two solutions to the current crisis: the first would be the formation of a 'presidential council' tasked with choosing members of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution, along with the appointment of a 'national salvation' government to preside over fresh parliamentary and presidential elections once a new constitution is written.

The second solution proposed by ElBaradei would be to elect an interim president who would then appoint a national salvation government and preside over a consensual committee tasked with choosing Constituent Assembly members, with presidential and parliamentary polls to be held once a new constitution has been drafted.

On Thursday afternoon, Egypt's High Constitutional Court found 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 on 16 and 17 June.

A second ruling, meanwhile, found Egypt's Parliamentary Elections Law – which regulated last year's legislative polls – to be similarly unconstitutional. The latter 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.  

ElBaradei withdrew from Egypt's presidential race last winter to protest the act of electing a president before the formulation of a constitution defining that president's powers. In April, ElBaradei co-founded the centrist Constitution Party.

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