Egyptian elections postponed until October

Electoral law considered unconstitutional by courts challenging president Morsi

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Photograph:  Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi. Photograph: Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images


Egypt’s parliamentary elections, set to begin yesterday, have been postponed as the electoral law, drafted by the fundamentalist-dominated upper house, is mired in controversy that becomes more complicated by the day.

President Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, originally decreed that the elections would be conducted in four stages, ending in June, and that the new bicameral parliament would convene in July.

Electoral law rejected
After the supreme constitutional court rejected five articles in the electoral law, they were amended by the upper house, the Shura Council, but not referred back to the court for approval before ratification to ensure the articles were constitutional. The court rejected them again. President Morsi has now proposed holding elections in October.

On one hand, the delay could permit the government to negotiate an unpopular deal with the IMF for a $4.8 billion loan and enable the secular opposition to unite and conduct credible campaigns for seats in the Shura Council and the lower house, which was dissolved last June by the constitutional court.

On the other, on May 12th the administrative court will hear an appeal against the constitutionality of the Shura Council’s assumption of a legislative role in accordance with a decree issued by Morsi.