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Court defers decision on Egypt election appeal

The Higher Administrative Court said it would resume on March 24 hearing the appeal

Gulf News

Cairo: An Egyptian court Sunday postponed until next week a decision on an appeal against a verdict overriding a presidential call for controversial parliamentary elections.

The Higher Administrative Court said it would resume on March 24 hearing the appeal lodged by the State Cases Authority, which represents the state agencies in court disputes, on behalf of President Mohammad Mursi.

The Administrative Court on March 6 scrapped Mursi’s call for the elections, which were due to begin on April 22. The court said that Mursi had violated the constitution by calling for the elections without consulting the prime minister.

The court also referred to the Supreme Constitutional Court a disputed electoral law to decide on its legality. Mursi’s appeal has drawn sharp criticism from the opposition that has repeatedly called for delaying the vote due to the country’s political tensions and economic decline.

Defending the decision to challenge the verdict, Ahmad Lutfi, who represents the State Cases Authority, told the Higher Administrative Court Sunday that calls for elections are part of presidential powers.

The Islamist president has for months been locked in a sharp feud with the secular-leaning opposition, which accuses him of betraying the revolt that brought him to power in June last year.

The opposition announced boycotting the elections last month when Mursi called for them, citing a lack of guarantees for fair and free polls.

Mursi’s Islamist allies say the vote is necessary to fast-truck the country’s democratic transition. In June last year, Egypt’s top court dissolved the Islamist-led legislature after election rules were found unconstitutional. The Shura Council or the upper house of parliament temporarily holds legislative power until a new legislature is elected.