By Heba Hesham
CAIRO: The Administrative Court of the State Council issued a ruling Tuesday invalidating parliament’s decision regarding the makeup of the Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting Egypt’s new constitution.
The court accepted the case filed by a number of legal experts and public figures against PA Speaker, as well as halting the implementation of the decision of the Islamist-dominated parliament to evenly divide the composition of the assembly between MPs and public figures.
The 50-50 split of assembly members from inside and outside parliament was widely deplored by liberal and secular-leaning political parties, Al-Azhar, the Church, representatives of the judiciary and other prestigious institutions.
The ruling was based on the fact that the current formation of the panel does not represent the entire spectrum of Egypt’s society and violates the rules and norms of drafting a constitution.
Presiding Judge Aly Fekry referred the case to the board of state commissionaires to prepare a report on the case.
Although PA Speaker and head of the Constituent Assembly Saad El-Katatny postponed Wednesday’s session of the panel, saying he respects the judiciary ruling, members of the Muslim Brotherhood criticized the verdict.
“This ruling is a dangerous precedent and opens a wide door for the interference of any authority in the work of the legislative authority. It is contrary to all constitutional principles,” said Abdel Moniem Abdel Maqsoud, MB lawyer.
“I believe that if appealed, this verdict will be overturned because the court should not have accepted the appeal on the formation of the assembly in the first place — it is a parliamentary decision and not an administrative one,” he added.
According the MB’s Freedom and Justice Party’s official Facebook page, Abdel Maqsoud said that only both houses of parliament can appeal Tuesday’s verdict, as the authors of the assembly’s formation decision.
The party denied filing an appeal.
The Brotherhood presidential candidate Khairat Al-Shater called upon all political powers to sit together to find a solution to the stalemate.
“I respect the ruling of the judiciary. All national forces should come together to reach the best solution to overcome this crisis. Egypt needs us all to draft a constitution that establishes a modern democratic state and paves the way for the desired renaissance,” he said in a statement.
During the hearing, political groups organized a protest in front of State Council to urge the judge to rule in favor of the law without political considerations.
“We are confident that the Egyptian judiciary will [apply the rule of] law because they will be affected, like all factions of society, by the constitution,” said Ezzat Aziz, one of the protesters.
“We are not here to influence the judge’s decision, but to demonstrate our objection of the assembly’s formation.”