Egypt court rejects law barring candidate Shafiq
Posted Thursday, June 14 2012 at 18:21
Egypt's top court on Thursday cleared ousted strongman Hosni Mubarak's last premier to run for president and ruled illegal the Islamist-led parliament that sought to bar him, deepening political rifts just two days before the key vote.
The decision handed legislative power back to the generals who took power when Mubarak was overthrown in a popular uprising early last year, a military source said.
"The Supreme Constitutional Court has ruled that the political isolation law is unconstitutional," the state MENA news agency said.
The court was examining the legality of the law, passed by parliament in April, which sought to bar senior officials of Mubarak's regime and top members of his now-dissolved National Democratic Party from standing for public office for 10 years.
The law applies to those who served in the 10 years prior to Mubarak's ouster on February 11, 2011 after an 18-day popular uprising.
The top court also ruled that articles in the law governing parliament were illegal.
"The constitutional court ruled unconstitutional some articles of the parliamentary election law related to the direct vote system," MENA reported, referring to the third of seats elected on a first-past-the-post system.
"The constitutional court affirmed in the details of its verdict that the parliamentary elections were not constitutional, and the entire composition of parliament has been illegitimate since its election," the official MENA news agency reported.
Members of the ruling military council were in a meeting and did not immediately issue a statement. But a military source said the court decision gave the military legislative power.
"We don't want it (the power) but according to the court decision and that law, it reverts back to us," the source said.
The ruling military decided 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 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.
That decision was challenged in court.
Mahmud al-Khodeiri, a senior lawmaker and former judge who won his seat with support from the Muslim Brotherhood, said by-elections were likely to be held for some of the seats.
"There will be a re-election for some of the seats," he told AFP after the ruling, referring to seats won by candidates belonging to parties.
He said no one authority had the right to dissolve parliament at the moment but elections could take place "after there is a new president."
Outside the court dozens gathered to demand the application of the law, amid heavy security.
"That's it, the revolution is over," one protester shouted, as others chanted against the ruling military.