Egyptian court suspends parliamentary elections

Administrative Court delays voting, which was set to take place in phases beginning on March 22.

Members of the special forces police stand guard in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo
The Supreme Constitutional Court's ruling declared the law defining voting districts unconstitutional [Reuters]

An Egyptian court has suspended the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections, following an earlier Supreme Constitutional Court ruling deeming laws regulating the vote unconstitutional.

The decision by Judge Yahia Dakrouri of the Administrative Court on Tuesday was expected after the higher court’s ruling last week. The country’s election committee later will set a new date for the vote.

The Supreme Constitutional Court’s ruling declared the law defining voting districts unconstitutional.

The government is working on amending the law. The Supreme Election Committee said in a statement earlier that it will set up a new timetable for elections after the law is ready.

It was not clear how long it will take for the amendments to be written, but voting for a new parliament is expected to be delayed for at least several weeks.

The parliamentary vote initially was set to take place in phases beginning on March 22. It is the final phase in a transition period following the 2013 ouster of President Mohamed Morsi by the military.

Egypt has not had an elected legislature since 2012, when the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that parliament’s lower chamber was not constitutionally elected. 

The first two steps of the transition following Morsi’s ouster were the adoption of a new constitution by referendum in 2014 and a presidential election, which former army chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi handily won.

Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood swept the first free parliamentary elections after the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The group is now officially considered a “terrorist” organisation, and thousands of its members, including most of its top leaders, are imprisoned.

Source: AP