Egypt’s top court on Tuesday declared five articles of a draft election law as unconstitutional and sent the text back to the Shura Council for redrafting, in a move that may delay a parliamentary poll due in April.
Egypt’s High Constitutional Court (HCC) announced that it had rejected five articles of the draft parliamentary elections law that is soon up for ratification.
The law would regulate parliamentary elections expected in April 2013.
The law, drafted by the Shura Council, the Upper House of Parliament, which is currently endowed with legislative powers following the dissolution of the People’s Assembly in June 2012 was presented to the HCC for approval before which it must be ratified.
The law will be remanded to the Shura Council to look into amending the articles whose constitutionality has been questioned by the HCC, before presenting it to President Mohammed Mursi for ratification, Ahram online reported.
The People’s Assembly (parliamentary lower house) was dissolved in 2012 by an HCC court order that rendered the law that elected that chamber unconstitutional.
The Shura Council has assumed full legislative powers on a temporary basis, until the new House of Representatives (formerly called the People’s Assembly) is elected.
Ahead of the decision, a judiciary source told Al-Misri al-Yawm that the court was expected to support a consultative report by its own board of commissioners citing irregularities in articles pertaining to the delineation of constituencies and recommending that the number of seats allocated to each governorate be more proportionate to their population sizes.
The Shura Council will have to add amendments to the article before February 25.
The Constitution stipulates that the law must be approved by the court within 45 days of it being passed by the Shura Council.
However, the court itself was put in a difficult position because new elections for the House of Representatives were supposed to have been held within 60 days of the Constitution’s passage.
The Shura Council did not pass an elections law until the end of January.
Islamist adviser to Morsi quits
In a public disagreement over the Supreme Constitutional Court's rejection of the election law presented to it by the Islamist-dominated parliament, the ultraconservative Islamist adviser to Egypt’s president resigned on Monday in solidarity with a fellow aide who was fired amid allegations of abuse of office.
The resignation of Bassam Zarka, who is a member of the Salafi Al-Nour party, is the latest sign of tension between President Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist ally ahead of parliamentary elections expected in the months ahead.
Al-Nour, which emerged from obscurity to win the second largest bloc of votes in Egypt’s parliamentary elections in 2011 just behind the Brotherhood-led bloc has joined voices critical of Mr. Morsi and the Brotherhood for what it describes as their attempt to monopolise power.