Egypt

SCC rules on elections


Published

The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) has given two rulings which throw the whole series of elections in the post Mubarak era into disarray.

In one ruling the court stated that the Parliamentary Elections Law is unconstitutional and therefore the parliamentary elections will have to held again. The reason behind the ruling is that the amended Article 38 of the Constitutional Declaration which took effect in March allocated 2/3 of all seats for list based candidates and 1/3 to independents. The spirit of the article was to give independents who did not have the backing of political parties the chance to be elected. This would allow the People’s Assembly to represent diverse segments of society. The elections were run, however, on legal articles that have since been deemed unconstitutional because party list candidates ran in those independent seats.

In another ruling the Supreme Constitutional Court found the Political Isolation Law to be unconstitutional because it did not allow for equality and was based upon false premise. The law was designed to prevent members of the former Mubarak regime from standing for office. As a result the SCC ruling does allow Ahmed Shafiq, a former prime minister, from standing in the second and final round of the presidential elections this weekend. However, the ruling puts into question the legitimacy of the first round of the presidential elections where some candidates were barred on the basis of their previous involvement with the former regime. Mohamed El Baradai a candidate in the first round, has called for the postponement of the elections this weekend.

The effect of the SCC ruling was to bring protesters back on to the streets of major towns, including a large rally in Tahrir Square. Many commentators are suggesting that although the ruling does create problems in moving forward with rebuilding the country it does at least demonstrate that the constitutional agencies are functioning as they should and acting in an independent manner.

The reaction to the SCC ruling by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) should be known today. If they allow the second round presidential election to go ahead they will be criticised by a large portion of the electorate who are unhappy with the final two candidates. If they abandon the election and call for fresh parliamentary and presidential elections then they will also face criticism for attempting to hold on to power.

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