Court in Egypt Rules Legislature Elected Illegally

The highest court in Egypt ruled Sunday that the nation’s constitutional panel and legislature, dominated by Islamists, were elected illegally, which deals a serious blow to the Islamists who are currently holding the power.

The Supreme Constitutional Court ruling said that the upper house of the legislature, the only house currently sitting, would remain until the lower chamber of the parliament is elected later in 2013 or in early 2014. The court dissolved the constitutional panel.

The ruling, even though it will not take effect immediately, will deepen the instability politically that is currently gripping Egypt and has since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak the authoritarian leader more than two years ago.

The same Supreme Constitutional Court ruled in June to dissolve the lower chamber of parliament, a move that led to the Shura Council becoming a law making group.

The Shura Council, which for many years has been considered nothing but a talk shop, gained election by only 7% of the country’s electorate in 2012.

It was unclear if the ruling regarding the constitutional panel’s 100 members would cancel the charter they drafted. The new constitution was adopted in December via a vote nationwide, with a small turnout of only 35%.

Even if the ruling does not dissolve the new charter, it will put into question it legitimacy as it was pushed through using allies of President Mohammed Morsi an Islamist, in a session that lasted an entire night.

Critics of the charter say it restricts freedoms and allowed clerics to have a say in the country’s legislation. Those who drafted it, the Islamists, hail it as the best the country has ever had.

Morsi has not released any comment, but regardless, the ruling on Sunday is sure to prolong the political transition that has followed the resignation of Mubarak.

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