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Egypt: ‘Administrative delays’ defers court ruling on assembly

Last Updated: Sunday, December 2, 2012 - 16:09

Zeenews Bureau

Cairo: A hearing to determine the legitimacy of panel dominated by Islamists which approved the draft Constitution by President Mohamed Mursi was reportedly postponed on Sunday by Supreme Constitutional court.

Thousands of Mursi’s supporters, who had earlier assembled outside the court, protested against the decision and prevented judiciary members from entering the courthouse, as per news agency report.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, did not know whether a new date has been set for the ruling, which is part of a worsening political crisis in Egypt pitting the largely secular opposition and powerful judiciary against Mursi and his fellow Islamists.

The MENA state news agency said the judges are expected to issue a statement later Sunday to explain their position.

The protesters began to gather outside the court on Saturday night and the officials said the judges did not show up at the court on Sunday out of fear for their safety.

In the past, Islamists have assaulted secular politicians, lawyers and activists outside court complexes as judges inside deliberated rulings anticipated to be against their interests.

Islamists say that the courts are filled with judges loyal to Hosni Mubarak`s ousted regime. The Supreme Constitutional Court ruled in June to dissolve the Islamist-dominated People`s Assembly, parliament`s lawmaking lower chamber, on the grounds that a third of its members were illegally elected.

Besides ruling on the legitimacy of the constituent assembly, the court was also expected Sunday to rule on parliament`s upper chamber, also dominated by Islamists.

A ruling from the court — regardless of which way it goes — would be a direct challenge to Mursi, who last month gave himself near absolute powers, placing himself and the assembly above any oversight, including by the judiciary.

Mursi`s decrees caused uproar among the nation`s secular-led opposition. Further stoking the anger, the constituent assembly last week rushed through a vote on the charter`s 230 clauses in an all-night session.

(With Agency Inputs)

First Published: Sunday, December 2, 2012 - 16:08
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