Egyptian administrative court to dissolve local councils
Zeinab El Gundy , Tuesday 28 Jun 2011
An administrative court decrees the dissolution of local councils, the much maligned bodies said to be largely in the hands of former ruling party members

Earlier Tuesday, the administrative court issued an order to dissolve local councils across the country. The court order fulfils another important demand of the January 25 Revolution, since local councils were regarded as another tool used by the former regime to maintain a firm grip on the country. This is the first stage towards the complete dissolution of the local councils through.

According to legal experts, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the ministry of local development could appeal the court order. Prime Minister Sharaf's spokesperson Ahmed El-Saman, however, claims that the government respects the court ruling and is obliged to implement it.

Major General Mamdouh Shahin, a member of the military council, previously told members of the legislative committee in the National Consensus that the local councils would not be dissolved except through a court ruling. This, Shahin believes, would be a difficult thing to do ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections.

During a meeting with the public diplomacy delegation to Tehran yesterday, Sharaf told former independent MP Gamal Zahran to anticipate an important decision regarding the local councils within the upcoming 24 hours.

The local councils were widely criticised for their role in corruption in the days following the ouster of president Hosni Mubarak.

According to Cabinet spokesman Ahmed Assaman, the prime minister will hold a meeting Wednesday with the governors to discuss the implications of the court's ruling. The meeting was originally intended to take place Tuesday but was postponed after the court’s decision. Assaman said that the government respects the verdict and will abide by it. However, it is still to be seen whether the local councils' elections will be held before or after the parliamentary elections.

There are about 1750 local councils in Egypt. No less than 10 lawsuits have been filed in front of the administrative court to dissolve local councils since Mubarak’s ouster. According to one of the lawsuits, 98 per cent of the country’s local councils were controlled by former National Democratic Party members.