Court rules election laws unconstitutional, parliament elections postponed

The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) issued a verdict on Sunday deeming the Constituency Division Law unconstitutional, effectively postponing parliamentary elections that were scheduled to take place later this month.

The verdict deems Article 3 in Presidential Decree Law 202 for 2014, which deals with the division of electoral districts, unconstitutional. The SCC concluded that, as it stands, this article fails to ensure equal representation for voters in different constituencies.

Article 102 of the Constitution states that “the division of constituencies shall be defined by the law, taking into account the fair representation of constituencies and governorates and the equitable representation of voters.”

Former Social Solidarity Minister and leading member in the Democratic Current Ahmed al-Boraie told Mada Masr that the unconstitutionality of the Constituency Division Law could create a real crisis, as he says the constitutional requirements for the division of constituencies are mathematically difficult to meet at the same time.

The court also rejected challenges to the Electoral Law and the Political Rights Law, which were under review in the same case.

In doing so, Boraie says that the main grievances of several political parties regarding elections laws have been overlooked by the verdict. 

Boraie’s coalition, which includes the majority of parties formed after the 2011 revolution, had objected to the distribution of seats between lists and individuals, which was set at two-thirds for individuals and one-third for party lists, which some argue does not provide equal opportunities. The current had also questioned the absolute list system, which gives the majority winner of any constituency all the seats within it, decreasing the chances of small parties of attaining representation.

“I don’t think that postponing the elections will change the general configuration of the parliament, because the main laws appealed have not been taken into consideration,” Boraie says, adding that the board of the Democratic Current would meet on Monday to determine their position on the elections in light of the ruling. 

The Supreme Constitutional Court began overseeing the case on February 15.

Postponing elections further delays the last step in the current regime’s roadmap, following its rise to power in July 2013. The Constitution, which passed in January 2014, had stipulated that a parliament should be elected within six months of the new constitution.

The regime found a way around this deadline by forming the Supreme Elections Committee days before the six months ended. However, the process has stretched on for an additional seven months since then. 

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