Egypt high court declares parliament illegitimate

Agence France-Presse
Paves way for military to resume legislative powers

CAIRO, June 14, 2012 (AFP) – Egypt‘s top constitutional court on Thursday ruled the whole Islamist-dominated parliament illegitimate, paving the way for the military to resume legislative powers, state media and a military source said.

“The constitutional court affirmed in the details of its verdict that the parliamentary elections were not constitutional, and the entire composition of parliament has been illegitimate since its election,” the official MENA news agency reported.

Members of the ruling military council were in a meeting and did not immediately issue a statement. But a military source said the court decision gave the military legislative powers.

“We don’t want it (the power) but according to the court decision and that law, it reverts back to us,” the source said.

The military suspended the constitution after a popular uprising overthrew president Hosni Mubarak last year and left in charge army generals who rule under an interim charter.

Faruq Sultan, the head of the constitutional court, told AFP that the decision “voids” parliament and must be respected by the authorities.

“It voids parliament, not in the meaning of dissolves,” he said. “But the constitutional court’s rulings is binding on all state authorities and all people,” he said.

The Islamist speaker of parliament Saad al-Katatni had said before the ruling that no authority had the power to dissolve the legislature, which he said would consider how to apply the court’s ruling.

Parliament is dominated by the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood through its political arm. It is running a candidate in this weekend’s presidential election against former airforce chief and Mubarak premier Ahmed Shafiq.

The court also ruled on Thursday that a law barring Shafiq and other senior Mubarak officials from standing for public office was unconstitutional.