The Egyptian Supreme Council of the Armed Forces [NYT backgrounder] announced Monday that it would lift the state of emergency [JURIST news archive] before parliamentary polls to be held in September. General Mamdouh Shaheen, speaking for the military council, announced the parliamentary elections and said that the presidential election will be held after the September vote [AFP report]. Shaheen also announced that the military council had eased the requirements for the registration of political parties [Al Jazeera report], requiring the support of 5,000 people from 10 of the 29 provinces. On Friday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] called on the military council to lift the state of emergency [JURIST report] that has been in effect since 1981. The military council, which has ruled Egypt since former president Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile] resigned amid mass protests against his government, first pledged to lift the emergency laws [JURIST report] after taking power in February. Also on Monday, the military council confirmed that Mubarak and his family had been placed under house arrest [Al Jazeera report], denying reports that they had left the country for Saudi Arabia.
The election announcement comes a week after an overwhelming majority of Egyptians voted to approve several constitutional amendments [JURIST report] in a national referendum. The majority approval is considered by some to be a milestone [JURIST comment] for Egypt during its transition to a democratic society following the national uprising [JURIST news archive] against Mubarak. Both the National Democratic Party and the Muslim Brotherhood supported the amendments to the Egyptian Constitution [text], which include lowering the presidential term limit and mandating new criteria for potential presidential candidates.