Friday, June 15, 2012

The Dissolution of Egypt's Parliament

This weekend, if everything takes place as expected, a new president will be elected in Egypt to succeed the man they have sent to prison days ago. But, the new president will not have a parliament to govern-or fight-with. The country's Supreme Constitutional Court has dissolved the parliament which was elected several months ago.

The country's whole political transformation has been turned, or at least severely hindered by the rulings by the court. In the parliamentary elections, almost one third of the seats were open to individuals not affiliated with the political parties. However, fearing the old guard of Hosni Mubarak's National Democratic Party would target them, the military rulers hastily changed the election law to allow political parties participate in the election in those seats. The court has held that it is unfairly discriminatory towards political independents.

The court has also held that Mubarak's last Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq, can stand for the presidential run-off against Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Morsi. In April, the Political Isolation Law, was passed by parliament (which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood) and enacted by the country’s ruling military council. It was just one month before the presidential election. The law bars anyone who served in a top position during the last 10 years of the Mubarak administration from holding public office for the next decade.

The law banned Shafiq from the race. But the day after it was passed, Shafiq appealed to the presidential election commission and was immediately reinstated. The commission then referred the law to the Supreme Constitutional Court for review. With their ruling on the law, the court allows even the former top Mubarak supporters to run for elected positions in the country. Theoretically, the sons of Hosni Mubarak, who were acquitted of corruption charges recently, can run for elected office.

Al Jazeera reports that Mohammed el-Beltagy, the vice-president of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), has called the sequence of events a "fully fledged coup" in a post on his Facebook page. But Presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate, has said in an interview with Egyptian channel Dream 2 that the constitutional court's decision to dismiss the entire parliament did not amount to a military coup. "I love the military forces," he said, adding that the court rulings indicated "there [are] some who seek, strive for, and plan ill against the people".

Some time after protestors took to the streets, calling the verdict to be politically motivated, Mohammed Shafiq held a press conference and declared that the era of "tailoring laws" has ended. Now that he is in the race for sure, the Egyptians will be watching the presidential run-off closely. The outcome of that race will not change the fact that Egypt is moving towards more confusion.

Image: CIA World Factbook

No comments:

Post a Comment