The decision to dissolve parliament by the court was said to be because "the law governing the parliamentary elections was ruled unconstitutional by a lower court because it breached the principle of equality when it allowed party members to contest a third of seats set aside for independents." This was upheld by the Supreme Constitutional Court.
- However, Article 38 of the constitutional deceleration from March specially states:
ينظم القانون حق الترشيح لمجلسى الشعب والشورى وفقا لأى نظام انتخابى يحدده . ويجوز أن يتضمن حدا أدنى لمشاركة المرأة فى المجلسين (AR: http://ow.ly/bAcDC)
"The law (according to ANY electoral provisions/system) determines the conditions that must be met for members of the People's Assembly and Shoura Councils - but it must ensure that females can run in both upper and lower house elections"
- Initially in September an electoral law was passed that reserved one-third of the seats in parliament to be elected as independents, with candidates affiliated with parties banned from contesting them.
- However, that was amended in October after SCAF agreed, in a document signed by the participating parties, to alter the law and allow members of political parties to run for the seats to be filled on a first-past-the-post basis. The deceleration stated:
"Approval for amending the fifth article of the parliamentary elections law to match the views of the political forces to allow single-seat nominations for political parties candidates." (http://ow.ly/bAd8w)
The only stipulation of equality in the constitution was that women would be allowed to run (one could assume this extended to religions too). How allowing certain people to run (i.e. not barring party candidates) is claimed as inequality is beyond me! I would have understood more if the ruling was that the 2/3 of parliament seats that were designated for party candidates barred non-party candidates from running which could potentially be seen as inequality for non-party members.
The only possible explanation I can imagine is if they say that the only equal electoral law is to have the seats 50/50 split between party and individual based but they should have made that clear if that was the case and not waste all of our time and the state's money in running these elections - rather, ensuring that the law was amended at the time and "equal" elections were run.
The Supreme Constitutional Court is the highest judicial power in Egypt and, it alone undertakes the judicial control in respect of the constitutionality of the laws and regulations and shall undertake interpretation of legislative texts. I cannot fathom how they interpreted this one.
Finally, Clause 30 in the constitution states:
"يؤدى الرئيس أمام مجلس الشعب قبل أن يباشر مهام منصبه اليمين"
"The president will take the following oath before the People's Assembly before assuming his position"
We will see how keen the judiciary is in upholding the constitution rather than abusing it for the benefit of the powers that be.