The Supreme Constitutional Court has ruled unconstitutional a law governing elections for the Shura Council, the upper house of Egypt's parliament and currently the sole legislative body in the country.
The Egyptian parliament is made up of two chambers: The People’s Assembly, or lower house, which is now called the House of Representatives, and the Shura Council, or upper house. The electoral law governing elections for the People’s Assembly is the same law that governs elections for the Shura Council.
As a result, the court, in its verdict on Sunday, said that this ruling on elections for the upper house of parliament also applied to the law governing elections for the lower house of parliament. In a separate case, the same court Saturday ruled unconstitutional the new bill concerning the formulation of the upcoming elections for the lower house of parliament.
The Supreme Constitutional Court had ruled unconstitutional in June some articles of the electoral law regulating last year’s elections for the People's Assembly, as partisan candidates were allowed to run against independents for individual seats. The lower house of the People’s Assembly was consequently dissolved.
The new constitution approved in December stated in article 231 that: The first legislative elections following the adoption of this Constitution shall be held in the following manner: Two-thirds of the seats are to be won by a list-based electoral system and one-third by individual candidacy, with parties and independent candidates allowed to run in each.
This language was the basis for the SCC's ruling in June that the electoral law for the People’s Assembly was unconstitutional.
The court also ruled unconstitutional the law that allowed for the formation of the Constituent Assembly, which drafted Egypt’s current constitution. The assembly was dissolved in April 2012 after the law mandating its formation had been ruled unconstitutional, but the assembly was reestablished two months later.
President Mohamed Morsy declared the Constituent Assembly immune from dissolution in a controversial constitutional declaration last November.