Egypt parliament dissolved

Egypt parliament dissolved

Political showdown as court rules to keep ex-military man in prez race

Egypt’s supreme court ruled on Thursday to dissolve the Islamist-led parliament, plunging a troubled transition to democracy into turmoil just two days before an election to replace ousted leader Hosni Mubarak.

Islamist politicians who had gained most from Mubarak’s overthrow decried what they called a “coup” by an army-led establishment still stuffed with Mubarak-era officials. They said the street movement that spurred last year’s popular uprising would not let it pass.
Outside the constitutional court, protesters chanted “Down, down with military rule” and hurled stones at troops lined up in a security cordon.

The parliamentary vote earlier this year had swept long repressed Islamists into a commanding position in the legislature, a feat the Muslim Brotherhood had aimed to repeat with their candidate in Saturday and Sunday’s presidential vote.

Those parliamentary gains will now be put back up for grabs in a new election.
In a further setback for the Islamists, the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafik, could stay in the presidential race against the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsy.

Shafik, a former military man appointed premier in the last days of Mubarak’s rule, hailed the rulings as “historic”.

“The ruling regarding parliament includes the dissolution of the lower house of parliament in its entirety,” the head of the constitutional court, Farouk Soltan, told Reuters.

A new election will have to be called by the executive powers, he said.

The court had earlier ruled to overturn a law passed by the Islamist-led parliament that would have blocked senior Mubarak-era officials from the presidential race, legislation that was designed to keep Shafik and others out.

For 16 months since Mubarak was toppled after 30 years in office, a transition overseen by generals has been beset by political bickering, protests and often bloodshed. But many Egyptians had at least taken some reassurance from the calm conduct of the parliamentary election and the prospect of a presidential poll even though the process of writing a new constitution to define the president’s powers is in deadlock. Now even those gains are being plunged into doubt.

A member of the Brotherhood’s political party, which swept up the biggest bloc of seats in parliament, said Egypt was entering a “dark tunnel” if parliament was dissolved.

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