A ruling by a court in Egypt has declared the country’s parliament to be illegitimate and ordered its dissolution. the court also struck down a case that would have seen Ahmed Shafiq, Mubarak’s last Prime Minister, disqualified from running in the presidential race.
The ruling was made by the Supreme Constitutional Court in Egypt. The court is made up of justices who were all appointed by President Hosni Mubarak when he was in power. The decision serves a huge setback to the Muslim Brotherhood and democracy in the region.
By dissolving the parliament the court has in essence put Egypt under complete control of the military. Since the election of the assembly an uneasy balance had been struck between the two centres of power. With the legislative leg of that balance all power now lies in the hands of the military.
This weekend elections will be held to determine who the next president of Egypt will be. The two candidates, Shafiq and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi are from two entirely opposed sides of the political spectrum.
The ruling means that new elections will have to be held in order to put in place a new legislative assembly. The last round of elections took three months to complete and a similar time period would be expected for a renewed performance.
That delay would give the military a great deal of time to consolidate power. The ruling council is supposed to give up power after the presidential election. Commentators do not expect that to happen if the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate wins.
If Shafiq is declared the winner the military will probably reduce their power but continue to exert it in less obvious ways. Shafiq defends the record of Mubarak’s regime and has close ties with the military. He was once the commander of the country’s Air Force.
Mubarak’s control of the country precipitated riots last year that resulted in his removal from power. Many Egyptians do not want to see a return to the old days, but do not trust the Brotherhood.
Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen have said that they will not accept it. They warned of future riots in order to show the country’s rulers their opinion of the matter.
The political party has accused the military council of unduly influencing the ruling by the Supreme court and extending its power by using that influence. Tensions in the country have not been at this level since protests last year.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s control of the country’s parliament has caused friction between them and the military as neither believes the other to be a legitimate ruler for the country. Those feelings are now being expressed in a much more dangerous way.
Egypt’s future has never been as much in doubt as it is right now. The new president may not have any power if it is not agreed upon by the military . Today’s decision to liquidate the parliament is clear laying of precedent for a move that could invalidate the presidential election results. We predicted that the military would not allow the Muslim Brotherhood to completely control the Government.
Egypt’s future hangs in the balance with this decision. The country may descend into civil war. Egypt’s power and position in the world make it extremely important for global stability. The reaction to this move might cause tremors in the delicate Middle Eastern power balance.