Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court has thrown the entire nation’s political future in doubt today, ruling that the elected parliament must be dissolved while endorsing the candidacy of Air Marshall Ahmed Shafiq for president.
Activist leaders termed the move a “military coup,” and experts said that while it resolved the question of whether or not Shafiq was eligible, as a top member of the Mubarak regime, it threw into doubt the candidacy of his opponent, Dr. Mohammed Mursi, and left this weekend’s presidential election up in the air.
The parliamentary election saw Mursi’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) winning a huge plurality and nearly a full majority. The court ruled that the election was “unconstitutional.”
Shafiq praised the ruling, saying that it would give him a chance to install a new parliament that “represents all segments of the Egyptian people.” The Egyptian junta apparently saw the ruling coming and reimposed martial law yesterday, empowering themselves to arrest protesters on virtually any pretext.
What happens next is anyone’s guess. If the weekend election does take place, the anger is sure to boost Dr. Mursi’s candidacy. At the same time, the junta has already announced foreign votes, like the one in Israel, claiming 100% of the vote went to Shafiq, so there is a palpable sense that the fix is already in, and that Shafiq will not only be the next president, but will have unchecked power without a parliament.