First Published: 2013-01-15

 

Egypt top court postpones rulings on charter, Senate

 

Court will rule on constitutional panel on February 3, refers legality of upper house to its adivsory body.

 

Middle East Online

Opposition: Panel fails to represent all Egyptians

CAIRO - Egypt's top court postponed on Tuesday key rulings on the validity of the Islamist-dominated Senate and of the committee that drew up a controversial constitution approved by referendum last month.

It will rule on the constitutional panel on February 3 and has referred the legality of the upper house to its adivsory body, the official MENA agency reported.

Dozens of demonstrators had staged a sit-in in Cairo overnight outside the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) on the banks of the Nile, 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 mechanics of the election, the court is to decide whether or not the upper house -- which was given temporary legislative powers after the dissolution of the lower house -- 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 failed to represent all Egyptians as 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 and Christians as well as Muslims.

"No to Muslim Brotherhood terrorism," read placards held up by protesters.

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

In theory, the new constitution protects the Senate 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 heard on December 2 but pro-Morsi protesters gathered in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court 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.

 

US-backed fighters battle IS near Syria stronghold

Israel environment minister resigns from 'extremist government'

Juncker warns Ankara against migrant deal threats

Tunisia mulls allowing women to serve in army

Number of foreigners visiting Turkey dives by 30% in April

Thousands of protesters gather in central Bagdad

99 lashes for partying Iranian students

100,000 Syrians trapped after shock IS advance in Aleppo

Iran sticking to nuclear deal: UN watchdog

Turkey party seeks constitutional change to boost president's powers

Turkey accuses US of 'hypocrisy' on Kurdish militia in Syria

US-led coalition pounds IS near Raqa

Tunisia tourism sees 'slight recovery'

UN envoy calls for economic rescue plan for Yemen

Bahrain jails 19 for attacks on police

Up to 30 dead in shipwreck off Libya

UN says Syrians will 'starve' unless aid improves

Christian homes set ablaze in Egyptian village 'love story'

Kuwait's main opposition group ends polls boycott

Twin offensives on IS edge forward in Syria, Iraq

Private firms to help in hunt for Egyptair black boxes

New Israeli defence minister's tough talk to be put to the test

Syria most dangerous place for health workers

Concern for civilians trapped in Iraq's Fallujah

Brent rises past $50 a barrel

Iraq PM urges protesters to stay home

Israeli air force carries out strikes on Hamas sites in Gaza

Annual Jewish pilgrimage starts in Tunisia

Sudan accuses UN official of 'false' reports on displaced

Egypt quashes prison sentences for 47 protesters

At least 5 drown off Libya coast

Coalition airstrike kills six Yemen civilians 'by mistake'

Erdogan chairs first meeting of new Turkey cabinet

Pope prays to 'convert hearts' of ISIS extremists

Egypt expels French journalist amid crackdown on media

Israeli rights group gives up on army complaints system

Hamas-led council backs executions without Abbas approval

Netanyahu forms ultra-nationalist Israel government

Major assaults target IS jihadists in Iraq, Syria

Yemen warring parties 'closer' to agreement

New Afghan Taliban leader named

Syrian base used by Russia damaged in IS attack

Kurdish, Arab forces announce anti-IS offensive north of Syria's Raqa

Palestinian PM dismisses Netanyahu proposal

Israel PM's travel expenses under scrutiny