Sunday, June 2, 2013

Egyptian Court: Shura council and Constitutional Assembly both unconstitutional

Shura Council
The Shura Council. (Photo Reuters). 

Egypt's High Constitutional Court has ruled unconstitutional a law governing elections for the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament, Al-Ahram Online reports. However, the Council would not be dissolved. According to Article 230 of the constitution the council is immune from dissolution until a lower house of Parliament is elected. The constitution also gives the upper house temporary authority to pass legislation after a similar court order caused the dissolution of Egypt's People's Assembly in June 2012
The court also ruled that the law regulating elections for the constitution-drafting Constituent Assembly was unconstitutional.
It remains uncertain how the ruling will affect the constitution and whether actions and decisions taken under it will be annulled. The Administrative Court will decide how to apply Sunday's court verdict and whether it will have any impact on the assembly and the constitution that was ratified by a national referendum in December 2012.
Sunday's rulings are the latest in a series of court orders challenging the legitimacy of the country's top political institutions.The Islamist-dominated People's Assembly (re-named the House of Representatives) was dissolved in June 2012 following a court order, two days before the presidential election runoff.
April 6 Youth Movement founder Ahmed Maher said Sunday's ruling was correct but comes eight months too late, which will negate its effect.Former MP Ziad El-Elemy of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party expressed similar sentiments."Slow justice is great injustice. The delay of the verdict makes it hard to implement. The Shura Council will remain in place until after elections for the House of the Representatives. And the Constituent Assembly is invalid but the constitution will remain because it was ratified by a national referendum,” El-Elemy said via Twitter.

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