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What Does the Judicial Decision Mean for Egypt’s New Constitution?

June 17, 2012

Nathan J. Brown, of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, lays out the key questions posed by the supreme court decisions on Egypt’s next important transitional stage, the drafting of a new constitution:

What happens to the constitutional assembly just elected?

Can a constitutional assembly elected by an unconstitutional parliament still sit?

Does the parliament’s passing of a constitutional assembly law remain valid even if the parliament is dissolved and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has not approved the law?

Even if the constitutional assembly is not dissolved by this ruling (and as I write this, that question is not clear) can the fact that the parliament elected some of its own members to the body (even if they are no longer parliamentarians) be used to challenge the body?

And politically, will those who were going to boycott the constitutional assembly (because they disagreed with its social composition) now agree to take their seats?

And in the legal realm, a new parliamentary election law is needed. Who will issue it? The SCAF in its waning days by decree? Or the new president by decree?

And more generally, will the SCAF use the absence of parliament to parachute in a new constitutional declaration so that it does not have to surrender all its power to the president at the end of the month?

Or will the SCAF revive the 1971 constitution it cancelled last year?

References

Brown, Nathan J. 2012. Cairo’s Judicial Coup. Foreign Policy, June 14

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