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Egypt: Supreme Constitutional Court Decision Dissolves One-Third of the Parliament

(June 18, 2012) On June 13, 2012, the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court declared two recently drafted laws unconstitutional. The court ruled that paragraph 1 of article 6 of Law 108-2011, on the structure of the membership of the People's Assembly (the country's parliament), is unconstitutional. As a result, one third of the seats of the People's Assembly were deemed illegitimate, and the People's Assembly will be dissolved. Many of the seats ruled unlawful are held by members of Muslim Brotherhood party. (The Supreme Court Dissolves the Parliament and Keeps Safiq [in Arabic], AL JAZEERA NEWS NETWORK (June 13, 2012).)

In its decision, the Court rejected as unlawful the procedures used during the parliamentary elections that took place in November 2011. In those elections, one-third of the seats in the parliament were designated for independent candidates as well as for candidates affiliated with political parties, while two-thirds of the seats were designated solely for proportional lists of candidates affiliated with political parties. According to the Court, this distribution violated the constitutional principle of equal rights by disallowing independent candidates from running on proportional lists. (Id.)

The Court also declared unconstitutional article 1 of Law 17-2012, on banning officials of the former regime from holding political office. Based on the Court ruling, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq is eligible to continue to run for president and will face the Muslim Brotherhood candidate in the election scheduled for June 16-17, 2012. (Id.)