News / Middle East

Egypt Ruling Lets Mubarak Official Run for President

Mural depicts combination of the faces of former Egyptian president Mubarak and Field Marshal Tantawi, Cairo, June 14, 2012.Mural depicts combination of the faces of former Egyptian president Mubarak and Field Marshal Tantawi, Cairo, June 14, 2012.
x
Mural depicts combination of the faces of former Egyptian president Mubarak and Field Marshal Tantawi, Cairo, June 14, 2012.
Mural depicts combination of the faces of former Egyptian president Mubarak and Field Marshal Tantawi, Cairo, June 14, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Elizabeth Arrott
CAIRO - Tempers flared and protesters took to the streets after Egypt's constitutional court issued twin rulings effectively dissolving the Islamist-led parliament and allowing former officials to run for office just days ahead of a presidential run-off election.

Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court ruled Thursday that one-third of the Egyptian legislature was elected illegally, making the entire parliament unconstitutional and necessitating new parliamentary elections.  

The court also rejected a parliamentary law barring officials from the rule of former president Hosni Mubarak from running for office.  That cleared the way for former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq to compete in the presidential run-off vote, set for Saturday and Sunday.  Shafiq placed second to the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate, Mohamed Morsi, in the first round of voting in late May.

Morsi said he "respected" the court rulings, although he told privately-owned Dream TV he was "dissatisfied" with the court's decision to reject the law that would have barred Shafiq from running.  

Egyptian Court Ruling Ignites Furyi
|| 0:00:00
X
Elizabeth Arrott and Japhet Weeks
June 14, 2012
Egypt's constitutional court has ruled that Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister of the old government, is eligible to run for president in this weekend's election, despite a law banning ex-officials from the race. As Elizabeth Arrott and Japhet Weeks report from Cairo, the court also nullified the election of one third of parliament, throwing the country's legislative branch into limbo.
Egypt's official MENA news agency quoted the country's ruling military council as saying the run-off will go ahead as scheduled.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. is monitoring the situation and expects to see a "full transfer of power to a democratically-elected civilian government."

"There can be no going back on the democratic transition called for by the Egyptian people," Clinton told reporters in Washington.

Anger in the streets

Protesters outside the Constitutional Court were furious at the rulings.  Many in the crowd called the move a political decision aimed at keeping the old system in place.  Some Islamist politicians said the rulings amounted to a military coup.

One protester, Mohamed Abdullah, said they show the powers that be are looking for ways to stop change.

"Today it's clear that everyone wants to hand over power to Shafiq. The deal with Shafiq is he's like a cat with nine lives. Shafiq is Mubarak's dog. He's the one protecting the regime," said Abdullah.

Another demonstrator, Mohamed Hussein, called the ruling an outrage. "By what logic can we return the tyrannical old regime? Where is the justice in that?  We had a revolution and no revolution in the world brings back a tyrannical regime,"  he said.

Some political activists, like Mohamed Fawaz with the 6th of April Movement, say the court rulings were expected.

"It is very logical that the law [to disqualify Shafiq] was refused," he said. "I have always expected that the law will be found void. We are talking about all the organizations of the country working together so that Ahmed Shafiq would become president, to return the Mubarak regime once again and to continue the military rule that has been going for 60 years."

  • Riot police gathered behind the Maadi Consitutional Courthouse in Cairo, before today's rulings were issued. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • Anti-Shafiq protesters chanted outside of the courthouse. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • A young Egyptian protester was calling for Shafiq to be banned from participating in upcoming presidential elections. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • Protesters waved anti-Shafiq posters in front of rows of concertina wire, soldiers and police. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • Anti-Shafiq protesters reacted angrily after the court ruled that Ahmed Shafiq can run in this weekend's presidential elections.(Y. Weeks for VOA)
  • The courthouse was heavily guarded by military and police. (Y. Weeks for VOA)
Speaking to supporters in Cairo Thursday, candidate Shafiq called the ruling "historic" and urged all Egyptians to take part in the upcoming poll.  He promised Egypt would return to greatness, saying its future would be written now.

He also rejected the use of violence, saying there is no need to use threats, and said he would respect the rights of all Egyptians to protest.

"The era of political score settling has ended and the individualization of the law or the use of the nation's statutes to achieve the goals of a single group against a person or another group has now gone forever,'' Shafiq said.

Some in the crowd outside the court vowed to keep up the street protests that brought the old government down last year.

But columnist and political observer Rania el Malki says the time for effective demonstrations may have passed.

“We are going to have the elections. People are going to go to the polls. They are going to say what they want and at the end of the day nothing is going to change the outcome," said el Malki.

Some Egyptians want to register their objections to both candidates at the polls. A group gaining momentum is urging voters to spoil their ballots. “These nullified votes would tell the two candidates that there is a third power,“ said protester Abdullah Mahmoud.

Parliament's future

Lawyer Tarek Nagida says the ruling military council will have to step in while parliament steps down.  

"The parliament has to suspend its sessions because it lost its legitimacy by losing one-third of its members and, in this case, the parliament has to wait until the ruling power calls for new elections for the third of the seats of the parliament," he said.

At least one senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party warned Thursday that Egypt was entering a "dark tunnel."

Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh said he was especially concerned about a decree issued Wednesday that allows military police to detain civilians.  Some critics say the move essentially places Egypt under martial law.

VOA's Carla Babb and Jeff Seldin contributed to this report from Washington.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Nur Abdallah Salem from: Cairo Egypt
June 14, 2012 9:29 PM
the truth is that we have an armed camp here; guns are steaming in from Libya and Sudan; drugs are being smuggled in from Turkey (which is the Drug Dealer of Europe - but no-one says anything about that...) crime is unbelievable - I don't remember ever seen so much crime... neighbors killing neighbors...


by: Hadad from: Toronto
June 14, 2012 9:19 PM
Islam is Islam... there is no such thing as "radical Islam" or "militant Islam" or any of the assorted modifiers designed to cushion "western" sensitivities from the ugly realities... just understand that it is what it is - its Islam

who will lead us in the fight against it... that is the question


by: Marwat Azam from: Tahrir
June 14, 2012 5:29 PM
Egypt has become a joke... everybody buys weapons... crime and rape, looting, kidnappings and murders are all over the country... soon, we will make Syria look civilized....


by: Farida Fahmy from: Cairo, Egypt
June 14, 2012 4:41 PM
I am very happy about the court rulings. These radical islamists should not be allowed to control our parliament.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid