First Published: 2013-01-15

 

Egypt top court to rule on Senate, constitution

 

Supreme Constitutional Court will rule whether Senate should be dissolved, on validity of panel that wrote Egypt's controversial constitution.

 

Middle East Online

CAIRO - Egypt's top court was on Tuesday to rule whether Egypt's Islamist-dominated Senate should be dissolved as well as on the validity of a panel that wrote the country's controversial constitution.

In advance of the landmark rulings, dozens staged a sit-in overnight outside the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) on the banks of the Nile in Cairo, as riot police formed a cordon around the building.

Two-thirds of the Senate, the 270-member upper house known as the Shura Council, were elected in a vote early last year, with one third appointed by President Mohamed Morsi in December.

Following several lawsuits arguing there were irregularities in the mechanism of the election, the court is to decide whether or not the Upper House -- which was given temporary legislative power -- is legal.

The court will also rule on the legality of an Islamist-dominated panel that drafted the country's constitution which is at the heart of the nationís worst political crisis since the overthrow nearly two years ago of president Hosni Mubarak.

The opposition argues that the panel was not legitimate as it failed to represent all Egyptians after it was boycotted by liberals, leftists and Christians.

The charter has divided Egypt, pitting Islamist President Morsi and his backers against the opposition which includes secularists, leftists, Christians and also deeply religious Muslims sparking deadly protests across the nation ahead of its adoption.

"No to Muslim Brotherhood terrorism," read some the signs held up by protesters outside the court.

"The Muslim Brotherhood constitution is void. Mohamed Morsi is void," others chanted.

The new constitution immunises the Senate -- which holds temporary legislative power -- from dissolution until a new People's Assembly is elected, adding further confusion to the legal chaos plaguing the country.

The two cases were scheduled to be reviewed on December 2 but pro-Morsi protesters gathered in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) preventing judges from entering the court and prompting the court to suspend its work.

The latest political crisis was ignited by a decree issued by Morsi granting him sweeping powers and making his decisions immune from judicial review.

He later backtracked on the decree but rushed through the constitution which critics say fails to protect key rights and allows for varying interpretations of Islamic law.

 

Turkey sends more tanks into Syria to bolster military offensive

Tunisia swears in new premier after approval from parliament

Turkey arrests former top diplomats over failed coup

Yemen shelling kills three-year-old boy in Saudi border region

In Egypt, ecstatic pilgrims leave to perform hajj

Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian in occupied West Bank

11 Turkish police officers killed in Cizre bomb attack claimed by PKK

French court suspends burkini ban

Tears as evacuation starts in Syria's Daraya

Turkey PM denies Syria operation singling out Kurds

Kerry, Lavrov meet for talks on Syria

Tunisia parliament to vote on cabinet proposal

Kuwait arrests govt employee promoting IS online

Turkey shells Kurdish fighters in Syria after warning

Oil prices fall on Saudi doubt on output cut

Jeddah meeting bears no fruit on Yemen conflict

Kerry in Saudi for talks on regional conflicts

UN Syria envoy expects 'impact' from Kerry-Lavrov meeting

Iraq parliament votes to impeach defense minister

Russia says will cooperate in Syria chemical attacks probe

Iraq forces take key town south of Mosul

Hamas to leave name off ballot in Palestinian elections

Iranian navy in 'unsafe' intercept of US destroyer

Three wounded in PKK attack on Turkey opposition chief's convoy

Erdogan to inaugurate Istanbul's third Bosphorus bridge

China to train Syrian troops

Turkey reinforces ground forces across border into Syria

Turkey says 'every right' to intervene if Kurds fail to withdraw

UN rights chief urges international probe of Yemen violations

Tunisia unity government to remain unchanged

Raped teen who took own life finally gets justice in Morocco

Syria rebels backed by Turkey tanks 'seize' Jarabulus

Libya's presidential council to present new cabinet

Syria regime, Kurds blast Turkish incursion

Biden: Washington told Kurds not to cross Euphrates

Israeli court shuns plea to unchain Palestinian hunger striker

Saudi police foil mosque suicide bombing

Kerry to meet Russia's Lavrov in Geneva on Friday

Kurdish forces in Syria prime target for Turkey

Drone strike kills 2 Qaeda suspects in Yemen

Iran yet to decide on OPEC limits

Iraq forces advance south of Mosul

Muslim women say swimsuit uproar is 'absurd'

Gaza animals leave 'world's worst' zoo

Hasakeh: key flashpoint for Syria regime, Kurds