Court challenge delays presidential elections law

Some government officials are confused about the implications of a Supreme Constitutional Court ruling challenging the legitimacy presidential elections law issued in December by Egypt's military rulers and approved by the cabinet earlier this month.

The court on Wednesday ruled the draft law is at odds with the interim constitution, which was issued in March to manage Egypt's transition to a civilian government. The court also said the new draft refers to Law 174/2005 of the abolished 1971 constitution.

The cabinet's legislative commission will review the draft law again to amend the articles in question, a senior government official told Al-Masry Al-Youm, but the review will delay the law, which was scheduled to be issued Sunday.

Local Development Minister Mohamed Ahmed Attiya, who is also a member of the legislative commission, said the commission has not been officially informed of the court decision. Attiya told Al-Masry Al-Youm Wednesday that the draft law was not meant to be an amendment to the existing presidential elections law (Law 174/2005), but rather a new law consisting of 15 articles.

Some constitutional experts have recommended that the draft law be held until the new parliament convenes.

"The new law should have been compatible with the interim constitution; the violating articles have to be changed," said Atef al-Banna, a constitutional jurist.

But Hamdy Omar, a constitutional law professor at Zagazig University, said the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces' decision to submit the draft to the constitutional court was wise. He, too, recommended that the parliament's legislative committee be responsible for issuing the new law.

Translated from Al-Masry Al-Youm

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