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Egypt court suspends parliamentary elections

March 06, 2013 23:58 IST

An Egyptian court on Monday overturned President Muhammed Mursi's decree that had called for parliamentary elections from April 22, questioning its constitutionality, a ruling that may deepen the political crisis in the polarised country.

Egypt's administrative court said it had acted because the Shura Council, the upper house of Parliament, had not returned an amended electoral law to the Supreme Constitutional Court for final review.

Instead, the court said, the Shura Council had sent the law to President Mursi for ratification.

The court ordered that the elections law be referred to the Supreme Constitutional Court and suspended the presidential decree.

Media reports said that the Egyptian presidency will appeal the court decision cancelling the parliamentary vote decree.

Last month, Mursi had called for House of Representatives elections to start on April 22 and conclude in late June.

Mursi hoped that the four-stage vote would help conclude the country's turbulent transition to democracy.

The main opposition coalition National Salvation Front had said that it would boycott the vote, saying that there were no guarantees that the elections would be free and fair.

According to the new Constitution, the Supreme Constitutional Court is supposed to rule on the election law, but the Shura Council's Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee head Abdel Mohsen has argued that the SCC cannot review laws after they are passed by the council.

On February 18, the High Constitutional Court rejected five articles in the recently drafted electoral law set to regulate the post-constitution parliamentary elections.

The law was referred back to the Shura Council (Egypt's upper house of parliament) for amendments, after which the legislative body partially amended the legislation without referring it back to the HCC.

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