Sakset/Fra hofta

Det er slett ikke første gang forfatningsdomstolen i Egypt underkjenner et parlamentsvalg. Men i dagens situasjon gjør det usikkerheten enda større.

Nathan J. Brown forklarer bakgrunnen for forfatningsdomstolens vedtak i en artikkel Foreign Policy.

Vedtaket om at en tredel av nasjonalforsamlingen er ugyldig reiser en rekke spørsmål i en allerede uavklart situasjon. Hva er legitimiteten til grunnlovskommisjonen valgt av et parlament som er ugyldig? Noen av medlemmene er parlamentarikere, kan kommisjonen fortsette arbeidet? Hva med grunnlovserklæringene som ble vedtatt i mars ifjor?

The content of the rulings were therefore not shocking — they were the most likely outcomes, though hardly the only possible ones. But the immediate rulings, particularly the timing and speed, were a big surprise. In the past, the SCC has been rather more deliberate in its rulings. In 1987, the SCC dissolved a parliament elected in 1984. In 1990, it dissolved a parliament elected in 1987. In 2000, it struck down a parliamentary election law just as the parliament elected under that law was completing its term. The court delayed ruling on a constitutional challenge of trials of civilians in military courts until an amendment removed the constitutional basis for the challenge in 2007. Today, by contrast, it dissolved a parliament elected earlier the same year and it ruled on a case involving a presidential candidate on the same day it heard the case.

The full ramifications of the ruling are not yet evident, and it will take time to clear the legal brush. What happens to the constitutional assembly just elected? The question is both legal and political: legally, can a constitutional assembly elected by an unconstitutional parliament still sit? Does the parliament’s passing of a constitutional assembly law remain valid even if the parliament is dissolved and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has not approved the law? Even if the constitutional assembly is not dissolved by this ruling (and as I write this, that question is not clear) can the fact that the parliament elected some of its own members to the body (even if they are no longer parliamentarians) be used to challenge the body? And politically, will those who were going to boycott it now agree to take their seats? And in the legal realm, a new parliamentary election law is needed. Who will issue it? The SCAF in its waning days by decree? The new president by decree? And more generally, will the SCAF use the absence of parliament to parachute in a new constitutional declaration so that it does not have to surrender all its power to the president at the end of the month? Or will it revive the 1971 constitution it cancelled last year?

Cairo’s Judicial Coup