The Washington Post

Egyptians react to court ruling dissolving parliament

Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court ruled Thursday morning that the country’s Islamist-dominated parliament will most likely be suspended because one-third of its lawmakers were elected unconstitutionally. It also ruled that former Mubarak prime minister Ahmed Shafiq is allowed to run for president in the country’s upcoming election, as Washington Post correspondents Ernesto Londoño and Leila Fadel reported from Cairo.

Shafiq’s eligibility to run was in question because of a recently passed law, which the Egyptian court declared unconstitutional this morning, that barred senior members of Mubarak’s party from politics for 10 years.

A protester shouts from atop a barricade in front of soldiers outside the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo on June 14, 2012. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Many pro-revolution Egyptians were dismayed by the ruling. The court’s decision means that Shafiq could potentially defeat Islamist candidate Mohamed Morsi, and whoever wins this weekend’s elections could also influence the election of a new parliament. To many, the verdicts appear to return legislative authority to the military.

Gigi Ibrahim tweeted:

We are now legally, constitutionally, and directly under military rule/dictatorship #Egypt

— Gigi Ibrahim(@Gsquare86) June 14, 2012

Hossam Bahgat, director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and an outspoken critic of the former Mubarak government, wrote:

RT @hossambahgat: Egypt just witnessed the smoothest military coup. We’d be outraged if we weren’t so exhausted

— Sarah El Sirgany (@Ssirgany) June 14, 2012

Foreign correspondent Lara Setrakian tweeted that a Shafiq presidency might undo the work of the revolution and allow for a return of the regime of deposed president Hosni Mubarak.

Analysts worry that if Ahmed Shafiq, the Mubarak era official, wins in #Egypt, thenold regime could reconstitute itself (like the Blob)

— Lara Setrakian (@Lara) June 14, 2012

Implication: more turbulence in #Egypt and a crisis of confidence in the revolution - a fear it’s just the old guard ruling a new era.

— Lara Setrakian (@Lara) June 14, 2012

Some fear that the dissolution of parliament might lead to chaos after the presidential elections this weekend, Al Jazeera reported:

“A senior Muslim Brotherhood politician said Egypt would enter ‘a dark tunnel’ if the Islamist-dominated parliament was dissolved.”

Protesters clashed with security forces minutes after the decisions were announced, according to Londoño and Fadel. Cairo-based blogger Kikhote posted this video of a small gathering of protesters in Tahrir Square shortly after the ruling:

After the ruling, Shafiq said it was his “right to run,” according to Twitter reports from Voice of America and other outlets.

#Shafiq calls message of court ruling is no one can use laws against particular people. It’s “my right’ to run. #Egyptdecides

— Elizabeth Arrott (@VOAArrott) June 14, 2012

He also pledged to respect the rights of protesters but would “confront chaos,” according to Voice of America Cairo bureau chief Elizabeth Arrott on Twitter.

Some critics watching the speech thought that Shafiq is too reminiscent of the old guard:

Oh my God this is turning into a #Mubarak speech by the minute. People chanting, “we love you, president.”

— Deena Adel (@deena_adel) June 14, 2012

See photos from the protests today:

View Photo Gallery: Egypt’s constitutional court ruled Thursday that former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq can run for president, despite ties to the deposed regime of Hosni Mubarak, and recommended disbanding one-third of the country’s Islamist-dominated parliament because of a violation of election law.

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