Egyptian judges appointed by former leader Hosni Mubarak have dissolved the Islamist-dominated parliament on Thursday, and also ruled that Mubarak’s former prime minister can run in the presidential election this weekend.
These two moves mean that the military and remnant’s of Mubarak’s old regime could stay in power, if the election goes their way. They also erase any progress from the past year’s transition, leaving Egypt with no parliament, and giving even more power to military generals.
The Huffington Post reports that the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood has the most to lose from the rulings. They reportedly have called the decisions a coup, and have vowed to tally in the streets against the ruling military, as well as former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq, who has been seen by critics as a favorite of the generals. He is also a symbol for the Egyptian people of Mubarak’s autocratic rule.
According to Yahoo News, the court stated in their ruling that, “The makeup of the entire chamber is illegal and, consequently, it does not legally stand.” They have said this, because while 1/3 of the seats were reserved for independent parties, other parties were able to contest them.
Omar Ashour, director of Middle East studies at Exeter University, stated of the decision that:
“Both decisions empower the Mubarak status quo…which is no surprise, as the judges of the court were appointed by the latter, and represent a part of the so-called ‘deep-state.'”
Rights lawyer Hossam Bahgat has claimed that the court rulings have derailed the broader transition to democracy, according to The Huffington Post. He further stated:
“The military placed all powers in its hands. The entire process has been undermined beyond repair. They now have the legislative and the executive powers in their hands and there is a big likelihood that the military-backed candidate (Shafiq) is going to win. It is a soft military coup that unfortunately many people will support out of fear of an Islamist takeover of the state.”