Court to respond to govt appeal against ruling challenging SPEC

Sarah Mourad, Ekram Ibrahim, Thursday 10 May 2012

Egypt's High Administrative Court on Saturday will rule on govt appeal against court ruling challenging authority of Egypt's Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC)

Supreme Presidential Elections Commission head Farouk Sultan (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Egypt's High Administrative Court has set aside Saturday to work on an appeal filed by the government concerning Benha Administrative Court's ruling on Wednesday declaring the illegitimacy of actions by the presidential elections commission, announced deputy State Council judge Magdy El-Agaty on Thursday.

The government lodged an appeal against the Benha court ruling that the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) had made key administrative errors such as calling for the elections when they do not have a legal right to do so.

Head of the Benha Administrative Court Mohamed Hatem Ammer explained that only the Supreme Council for Armed Forces (SCAF), as the de-factor leader, has the authorisation and power under Article 56 of the military-authored Constitutional Declaration, to call voters to vote in the upcoming presidential elections.  

In response, the government justified its appeal by saying that the lower administrative court's ruling was unconstitutional as they should abide by Article 28 of the military-authored Constitutional Declaration that ensures decisions taken by the SPEC are immune to appeal.

Conspiracy claims

Benha's ruling raised concerns that the elections would either be postponed or cancelled, because by declaring the announcement of the elections illegal, the whole presidential electoral process is consequently rendered illegitimate. 

Mokhtar El-Ashry, head of legal committee of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) denounced the Benha court legal action on Thursday, as it was issued by a 'non-specialised" lower administrative court and was "against the Constitutional Declaration." 

He described the action as a "conspiracy", saying it was an attempt to stop the presidential elections from taking place on time and added that he "rejects" any unspecialised judiciary intervention in the transitional phase, as the SCAF prepare to hand over power over to a civilian president. 

Judge Ahmed Mekky, former vice-president of Egypt's Court of Appeal told Ahram Online that there is no way that the presidential elections would be suspended or stopped. "It has become a national duty to get on with the elections to save Egypt," he said.

Mekky added that this is "intentional legislative chaos" explaining that the law and courts have lost their value, as they have been used for decades by those in power for their own gain. In addition, he said, some try to use the law to simply create a "media hype".

Mekky believes that the presidential electoral law needs to be reformulated or else this "legislative chaos" will continue to go on forever, creating major complications at crucial points, such as during the run up to key elections.

Shortly after Benha administrative court's statement, the SPEC announced Thursday that it will not suspend its work and reiterated that the presidential elections will be held on time.

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