The Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) ruled Saturday to uphold the verdict of the High Constitutional Court (HCC) deeming the People’s Assembly, formed after national polls in November 2011 unconstitutional. The assembly was dissolved on the basis of that verdict.
Although the SAC adjourned a similar case Saturday appealing the dissolution of the People Assembly, parliament’s lower house, to 15 October, only hours later it ruled in a different case in favour of the HCC verdict.
The dissolution of the People’s Assembly was a matter of great controversy in past months since HCC decision 14 June. The Muslim Brotherhood, forming the largest bloc of the former People’s Assembly, vociferously opposed the verdict together with other Islamists, with many of their lawyers working to saving the assembly through legal appeals.
Upon his inauguration, President Mohamed Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood’s ranks, declared the People’s Assembly reinstated. However, after his decision was deemed legally flawed, parliament did not resume its functions, waiting for the Administrative Court’s final verdict on filed appeals.
Several Brotherhood members, including acting chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and former MP Essam El-Erian as well as secretary general of the FJP and former Parliament Speaker Mohamed Saad El-Katatni were amongst the most prominent figures confirming there was a legal possibility that the assembly would be reinstated.
Their statements were repeatedly criticised by legal experts who argued that the reinstatement of the assembly was unlikely considering that the HCC had already ruled on its unconstitutionality.
Meanwhile, the newly appointed justice minister, Ahmed Mekki, earlier criticised the HCC for issuing its verdict dissolving the elected parliament, arguing that in light of the political situation at the time it should have postponed cases related to parliament along with other politically charged cases.
The general assembly of the HCC in response condemned Mekki’s statements implying their verdict was “politically motivated.” In its statement, the HCC described his criticism as “unacceptable interference” in the court’s work, insisting that all the court’s verdicts were based on constitutional legitimacy, refuting claims they were politically biased.
The SAC in issuing its verdict Saturday also confirmed that the HCC was the body with the final say on the matter. The SAC stated that only the HCC has the authority to decide whether the People’s Assembly should be dissolved or not on the basis of the constitutionality of the elections law that governed prior polling.
Earlier on Saturday Muslim Brotherhood lawyer Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud expressed his lack of hope that the dissolved People’s Assembly could be reinstated after the SAC adjourned the parallel case to mid-October.
The latest constitutional addendum dictates that new parliamentary elections should follow the approval of a new constitution by two months. Around 70 per cent of the constitution is reported to be in final draft form, with progress being made on the remainder. Some expect to see a full draft sometime in October.
Leading Brotherhood members also made earlier statements indicating that in the case that the People’s Assembly was not reinstated and new elections take place, the FJP — the political arm of the Brotherhood — will run for 100 per cent of available parliamentary seats.
Other similar controversial cases still awaiting the court’s final verdict include the case against the constitutionality of the Shura Council (parliament’s upper house) and a similar case against the Constituent Assembly, tasked with drafting Egypt’s new constitution, which was chosen by the dissolved People’s Assembly.
- Former MP charges Egypt’s Morsi with ‘sacrificing’ People’s Assembly (azzasedky.typepad.com)
Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court on Tuesday froze a decree issued by President Mohamed Mursi reinstating the Islamist-led parliament, a judicial source said.
The decision is expected to raise tensions between Mursi, the top court and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) which handed over power to the new president at the end of June.
“The court ordered the freeze of the president’s decree,” the source said.
On Sunday, just eight days after taking office, Mursi, a former member of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, ordered the lower house to reconvene.
His move highlighted the power struggle between the president and the Supreme Constitutional Court which last month said certain articles in the law governing the parliament elections were invalid, annulling the lower house.
The judicial source added: “The court ordered that its previous ruling (invalidating the elections and annulling the lower house) be implemented.”
The latest announcement came hours only after the dissolved parliament convened on Tuesday in defiance of the powerful SCAF and the judiciary.
“We are gathered today to review the court rulings, the ruling of the Supreme Constitutional Court,” which ordered the house invalid, speaker Saad al-Katatni said.
“I want to stress, we are not contradicting the ruling, but looking at a mechanism for the implementation of the ruling of the respected court. There is no other agenda today,” he added.
SCAF, which ruled Egypt after dictator Hosni Mubarak was ousted in last year’s popular uprising, dissolved the house and took legislative control using a document granting it supreme powers.
On Monday, the Supreme Constitutional Court rejected Mursi’s decree, saying that all of its rulings were binding.
“All the rulings and decisions of the Supreme Constitutional Court are final and not subject to appeal…and are binding for all state institutions,” it said.
And the military echoed it with a statement late on Monday saying the constitution and the law must be upheld.
- Egyptian parliament dissolution “binding” (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Egypt People’s Assemby refers own fate back to the Judiciary (alethonews.wordpress.com)
Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court said on Monday that all of its rulings were “binding,” in response to a presidential decree reinstating parliament after the court ruled the house invalid.
“All the rulings and decisions of the Supreme Constitutional Court are final and not subject to appeal…and are binding for all state institutions,” the court said in a statement.
The court also stressed that it was “not a part of any political conflict… but the limit of its sacred duty is the protection of the texts of the constitution.”
The court had said certain articles in the law governing parliamentary elections were invalid, annulling the Islamist-led house.
President Mohammed Mursi had on Sunday annulled the decision, putting himself on a collision course with the judiciary and the military that enforced the ruling when it was in power.
Parliamentary Speaker Saad al-Katatni announced that the body’s next meeting would be on Tuesday, but that is likely to be delayed following the court ruling.
Activists have accused the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) of organizing a coup to increase their power.
The differing rulings of Mursi and the court illustrate the divides between SCAF and the president as Egypt negotiates its path towards democracy.
- Egypt’s military council to hold 2nd meeting on Morsi’s decision (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Morsi reinstates Egypt’s dissolved lower house; SCAF holds emergency meeting (alethonews.wordpress.com)