Egypt's Future Cloudy as Court Decisions Invalidate Parliament, Allow Mubarak-Era Official to Run

The Egyptian constitutional court issued rulings yesterday that invalidated recently held parliamentary elections and allowed the presidential candidacy of Ahmed Shafik, a former prime minister, to proceed unhindered. The decisions, made by a judiciary thought to be close to the former regime, resulted in a day of political turmoil in the heart of the Arab world, throwing into doubt the gains of the January 2011 revolution that deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak.

Protests have so far been muted, but anger at the decisions was widespread among the revolutionary camp and the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the most powerful forces in Egypt.

Earlier today, Egypt’s ruling military council formally dissolved parliament. Egypt’s military has also announced that it will appoint the 100 members of a committee to write a new constitution.

The parliamentary elections were held late last year, and were the country's first democratic elections. 

Al Jazeera English has more details on the court rulings:
 

At issue in the rulings on Thursday was the way in which the People's Assembly was elected, which involved a hybrid ballot, two-thirds of which was meant for political parties and one-third for independents.

The Brotherhood pushed the military to change the rules at the last moment, opening the independent seats for parties, and hemming in the right of former regime elites to run for election.

That push now seems to have backfired, with the court ruling that the change to the hybrid system unfairly discriminated against independents...

The Brotherhood's success in pushing through what was known as the Political Isolation Law was also reversed on Thursday.

The law, passed by parliament and approved by SCAF in April, banned Shafik and others who had held high-level positions in Mubarak's government from holding office for the next decade.
 

The landmark court decisions come just days before Egypt’s presidential election, which pits Shafik against Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate.


 

AlterNet / By Alex Kane

Posted at June 15, 2012, 9:57am