Egypt's Top Court Rules Parliament Illegally Elected In Blow To Muslim Brotherhood
In what the New York Times describes as "a frontal legal assault on the Muslim Brotherhood," Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court today ruled that Egypt's new Parliament was improperly elected and must be dissolved immediately. As explained by the Times:
The question at issue in the high court’s decision was the application of a rule setting aside two-thirds of the seats in Parliament for selection by a system of party lists, also known as proportional representation. The other third was reserved for individual candidates competing in winner-take-all races.
Other authorities had decided before the parliamentary election that parties could run their members under their banners as candidates for the individual seats as well as the party list seats, but the court ruled Thursday that the parties should not have been allowed to compete for those seats, and so the results were invalid.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, as the largest and strongest, stands to lose the most from the ruling. As many as 100 of its 235 seats in the 508-member assembly were elected as individual candidates running under its banner. If it lost all of those seats, the Brotherhood would still control the largest bloc in the chamber, and together with the ultraconservative Salafi parties Islamists would still command a majority. But the Brotherhood’s leadership of the chamber would be much less decisive.
In a second decision, the Court upheld the candidacy of presidential contender Ahmed Shafik, who was Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister. It ruled unconstitutional a law that attempted to prevent former Mubarak government top officials from running for President. Shafik is in a runoff with Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi for the presidency.