Egypt court ruling threatens election timetable

2015-03-01 18:22
Egyptian Judge Anwar Rashad al-Assi has ruled as unconstitutional a clause in the election law that draws voting districts, a verdict that is almost certain to delay parliamentary elections. (Hassan Ammar, AP)

Egyptian Judge Anwar Rashad al-Assi has ruled as unconstitutional a clause in the election law that draws voting districts, a verdict that is almost certain to delay parliamentary elections. (Hassan Ammar, AP)

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Cairo - Egypt's constitutional court ruled on Sunday that parts of the law organising parliamentary elections starting 21 March violate the charter, in a decision that may force a delay.

The administrative court, which rules on state related matters, will now decide whether to formally rule on delaying the election.

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ordered that the law be redrafted within a month and asked that "legal measures be undertaken to avoid delaying" the election, his office said.

The constitutional court said sections of the law dividing the electoral districts were unconstitutional.

Lawyers who appealed against the law had said it failed to divide districts in a way that would adequately represent the electorate.

Delay

One of the lawyers told AFP that the ruling meant the election will be delayed and the process will start from scratch.

"The election will be delayed and the process will have to start from the beginning," said Mohamed Abdel Wahhab.

Former constitutional court judge Tahany al-Gebaly told AFP it was not immediately clear whether the poll would be pushed back or for how long.

The law may be amended in time for the election to start on schedule, but if candidates have to register again it would be delayed, she said.

The election, currently set to be held between 21 March and 7 May, would be the first since army chief Sisi overthrew Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013.

After Morsi's ouster, Sisi announced plans for a new constitution, to be followed by presidential and parliamentary elections.

The new charter was adopted in January 2014 and Sisi elected president in May.

The same court had dissolved the previous Islamist-dominated parliament, which was elected after the 2011 uprising that forced longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak from power.

It ruled that parts of the law under which it was elected were unconstitutional.

Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa

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