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.
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.  

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

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants 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.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs