On the plus side, Egypt’s new Islamist-dominated Parliament is no more, on the negative side, if the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi wins this weekends presidential elections he will rule the country without the checks and balances of a legislature.
CAIRO — Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court on Thursday ruled that the Islamist-led Parliament must be immediately dissolved, while also blessing the right of Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister to run for president, escalating a battle for power between the remnants of the toppled order and rising Islamists.
The high court, packed with sympathizers of the ousted president, appears to be engaged in a frontal legal assault on the Muslim Brotherhood, the once outlawed organization whose members swept to power in Parliament this spring and whose candidate was the front-runner for the presidency as well. The presidential election runoff is scheduled to go ahead Saturday and Sunday.
The ruling — which critics said amounted to a back-door coup — means that whoever emerges as the winner of the runoff scheduled for this weekend will take power without the check of a sitting Parliament and could even exercise some influence over the election of a future Parliament. It vastly compounds the stakes in the presidential race, raises questions about the ruling military council’s commitment to democracy, and makes uncertain the future of a constitutional assembly recently formed by the Parliament as well.
The decision, which dissolves the first freely elected Parliament in Egypt in decades, supercharges a building conflict between the court, which is increasingly presenting itself as a check on Islamists’ power, and the Muslim Brotherhood.
There are no grounds to appeal the ruling, issued by the highest judicial authority in Egypt, and it was not clear how the military council, which has been ruling Egypt since Mr. Mubarak’s downfall in February 2011, would respond. But in anticipation that the court’s ruling could anger citizens, the military authorities reimposed martial law on Wednesday, the eve of the court’s decision.