Fate of People's Assembly referred back to Egypt's High Constitutional Court

Ahram Online, Thursday 19 Jul 2012

The Administrative Court has demurred on ruling on the fate of the People's Assembly, the Constituent Assembly and the addendum to the Constitutional Declaration, keeping all three in judicial limbo

Parliamentary session
A file photo of a parliamentary session (Photo: Al-Ahram archive)

Egypt's Administrative Court referred to the High Constitutional Court (HCC) Thursday lawsuits against the presidential decree ordering that the People's Assembly (the lower house of parliament) be restored after a HCC ruling that found unconstitutional the election of a third of its seats led to its dissolution.

The Administrative Court said it was not specialised enough to look into the 39 appeals calling to suspend President Mohamed Morsi's decision to reinstate the lower chamber, a decision that created much controversy in the Egyptian political scene.  

The court also stated it is not legally competent to look into appeals lodged against the addendum to the Constitutional Declaration, which critics say has given the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) unfettered authorities.

The court also put on hold all appeals against the formulation of the Constituent Assembly, tasked with drafting a new constitution, until the court decides on suits calling for a change of the judge presiding over the case.

Earlier this month, President Morsi issued a presidential decree that reinstated the Islamist-led People's Assembly, which was dissolved 14 June by the military council pursuant to an HCC order that declared the law regulating November's parliamentary elections unconstitutional.

Two days later, the HCC indirectly scolded the president's decree by atypically holding an impromptu session and issuing a statement asserting that all of its legal opinions on constitutional matters are final and must be respected. Until now, however, the fate of the People's Assembly is undecided.

The future of the Constituent Assembly is also in limbo because it was elected by the parliament whose lower house was dissolved. This is the second Constituent Assembly convened this year. The first was found unconstitutional.

The addendum to the Constitutional Addendum, which SCAF issued on the last day of the presidential elections runoffs (17 June), has been appealed against by a number of lawyers.

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