SCAF Closes Doors on Parliament
Egypt’s speaker of the People’s Assembly Saad El-Katatny said Friday that the parliament has not yet received notification of the Thursday High Constitutional Court’s decision to dissolve both houses of parliament. Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Salafist Al-Nour party figure Ashraf Thabet said that parliament will move ahead with its activities as planned, denying that parliament will hold an emergency session upon the ruling. However, SCAF, the ruling military council, has ordered parliament to close its doors and is banning MPs from entering the building.
Egyptian activists called for protest and Islamists warned that the gains of Egypt’s revolution may be reversed after the ruling on parliament and allowing Ahmed Shafiq, its last prime mistister, to run in this weekend’s presidential election. The ruling elicited outrage from demonstrators gathered in front of the court, where they demanded Shafiq be barred from the election runoff. The April 6 movement, a critical force behind the revolt against Mubarak, called for a protest march on Friday that would head to Cairo’s Tahrir Square at 5 p.m.
Meanwhile, Law professor and analyst Hossam Eissa noted that SCAF is expected to take over the legislative authority until the parliamentary elections are repeated. However, Constitutional expert Tarek El-Beshri said that he knew at the time the SCAF approved the election law that a mixed electoral system would result in legal problems. He added that the March constitutional declaration does not specify that SCAF can regain legislative powers since it did not deal with scenarios of dissolving parliaments.
Former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh on Thursday declared that allowing Shafiq to run for Egypt’s highest office while dissolving the elected parliament and granting military police the right to arrest civilians represented a de facto “military coup.” However, Hossam El-Hamalawy argues that calling yesterdays events a coup is inaccurate, because a military junta has been in control from the “start of the transitional process,” adding, “No revolution gets settled in 18 days or 18 months . . . Did anyone expect that the revolution would be one linear curve of victories?”