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Egyptian Supreme Court disturbs political scene

Thu 14 Jun 2012 Egyptian Supreme Court disturbs political scene

On 14 June, the Egyptian constitutional court ruled against a law that would have disqualified presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq from the second round of presidential elections.
Seeking to derail presidential bids by senior Mubarak-era officials, parliament approved the law on April 12 to strip political rights from anyone who served in top government or ruling party posts in the last decade of Mubarak's rule. As Ahmed Shafiq was appointed Prime Minister during Mubarak’s last month, he would be barred from becoming president. The decision to still allow Shafiq to run is conceived problematic by many Egyptians wondering exactly what the revolution had achieved, aside from ousting Mubarak. The run-off in presidential elections will now take place between Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Mursi and Shafiq on 16 and 17 June.

Egypt's lower house ‘illegitimate’
On the same day, during a separate ruling, the court also judged that one third of the seats in the Islamist-dominated parliament was invalid. The parliament had been elected on a complex electoral system in which voters cast ballots for party lists which made up two thirds of parliament, and also for individual candidates for the remaining seats in the lower house. The third of seats elected on a first-past-the-post system is now judged upon as illegitimate. The individual candidates were meant to be "independents" but members of political parties were subsequently allowed to run, giving the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party an advantage. One possibility to resolve the issue would be to hold by-elections, but the ruling brought all of parliament's legitimacy into question making complete dissolution another option.

Restrictions on protest
At the same time, demonstrations are being restricted in a decree issued on Wednesday, which allows military police and intelligence officers to arrest civilians suspected of crimes, restoring some of the powers of the decades-old emergency law which expired on 31 May. The decree applies to a range of offences, including those deemed harmful to the government, destruction of property, obstructing traffic, and resisting orders, allowing for detention of peaceful protesters. The new decree will remain in effect at least until a new constitution is drafted, according to the justice ministry.

Al Arabiya
Al Jazeera

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