Egypt’s newly elected Parliament was ordered to dissolve by that country’s highest court. Hit the hardest is the Muslim Brotherhood, which holds 46% of the seats in the legislative body. A consequence of the ruling is that the Military has declared martial law and is now in control.
Via New York Times:
Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that the Islamist-led Parliament must be immediately dissolved, while also blessing the right of Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister to run for president, escalating a battle for power between the remnants of the toppled order and rising Islamists.
The high court, packed with sympathizers of the ousted president, appeared to be engaged in a frontal legal assault on the Muslim Brotherhood, the once-outlawed organization whose members swept to power in Parliament this spring and whose candidate was the front-runner for the presidency as well.
“Egypt just witnessed the smoothest military coup,” Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, wrote in a Twitter post. “We’d be outraged if we weren’t so exhausted.”
As is the case with almost anything, there can be unintended consequences. One may just involve the runoff election between a Muslim Brotherhood candidate (Mohamed Morsi) and a Hosni Mubarak holdover (Ahmed Shafik):
The ruling threw into doubt the status of the presidential election runoff, originally set for Saturday and Sunday, and means that whoever is eventually elected will take power without the check of a sitting Parliament and could even exercise some influence over the election of a future Parliament. It also raises questions about the governing military council’s commitment to democracy, and makes uncertain the future of a constitutional assembly recently formed by Parliament as well.
The decision, which dissolves the first freely elected Parliament in Egypt in decades, supercharges a building conflict between the court, which is increasingly presenting itself as a check on Islamists’ power, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
While the Brotherhood-led Parliament attempted to ban Shafik from being eligible to run for president, the ruling of the high court actually throws Morsi’s candidacy into question.
In the weeks before the first round of presidential voting, Parliament had passed a law banning Ahmed Shafik, who was Mr. Mubarak’s last prime minister, and other top officials of the Mubarak government from seeking the presidency. The law was previously set aside by a panel of Mubarak-appointed judges and on Thursday was ruled unconstitutional by the high court.
At the same time, however, the ruling raised new questions about the presidential runoff itself. Although the court did not invalidate Mr. Shafik’s candidacy, some argued Thursday that it may have raised new questions about the candidacy of his opponent, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. The ruling may have had the effect of invalidating Mr. Morsi’s nomination, which relied on his party’s presence in Parliament.
As we wrote here, Democracy does not equal freedom and justice, despite that being the name of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party. If Morsi is Democratically elected, the prospect for freedom and justice in Egypt will be all but extinguished.
No matter who wins the runoff, the loser’s side will be very, very angry.
There’s a surprise, huh?