Egypt's Supreme Presidential Elections Commission (SPEC) has made a unanimous decision to recuse itself from overseeing an appeal by Ahmed Shafiq against last year’s presidential election result.
The commission said it felt "unease" at overseeing the appeal but failed to give further details for the decision.
A new commission will be formed on 1 July after the retirement of Judge Maher El-Beheiry, the head of the SPEC and the High Constitutional Court (HCC), and a number of other commission members, at the end of the judicial year on 30 June.
The appeal will be heard after a new commission is formed.
The five-member commission is headed by El-Beheiry and includes the chairman of Cairo’s Appeals Court, the senior deputy chairman of the High Constitutional Court, the senior deputy chairman of the Court of Cassation, and the senior deputy chairman of the State Council.
Tension between President Mohamed Morsi and the HCC began after the latter overturned Morsi's decision to reinstate parliament in July 2012.
The ruling on Shafiq's appeal was expected last Tuesday but was delayed until Wednesday. It was then rescheduled for Thursday due to the death of El-Beheiry's brother.
On 27 May, election runner-up Ahmed Shafiq lodged an appeal with the SPEC claiming the results had been rigged.
Mohamed Morsi narrowly defeated Shafiq, who served as ousted president Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister, garnering 51.7 percent of the votes in a hard-fought final runoff round in June 2012.
If the commission accepts Shafiq's appeal, the poll results – which were declared by the SPEC – will be thrown into question, along with Morsi's legitimacy.
On Wednesday night, President Morsi took a swipe at Shafiq during a speech to the nation.
"Ahmed Shafiq – is he a 'revolutionary'? He's wanted [by the authorities]," the president said, in reference to the host of corruption charges that Shafiq – currently based in the UAE – faces in Egypt.
"He's based abroad, yet he continues to call for toppling the [Egyptian] government," Morsi said. "Is that not a crime?"