The Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt dissolved the Egyptian Parliament [official websites] on Thursday after finding that one-third of its members were elected illegally. The court determined that because some of the members were elected illegally, the entire body is invalid [AP report]. The decision was an affirmance of a lower court ruling [JURIST report] finding that the election process was unconstitutional. In a separate decision on Thursday, the court ruled that the proposed amendments to Egypt's political isolation law are unconstitutional, thus allowing high members of the regime of ousted former president Hosni Mubarak [Al Jazeera profile, JURIST news archive] to run for office. The amendments would have banned Mubarak's former prime minister, Ahmad Shafiq, from running in the upcoming presidential election [IFES election guide] this weekend. The court's two decisions on Thursday are a major blow for the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which controlled the majority of the now-dissolved parliament. Additionally, the MB's presidential candidate, Mohammed Mursi, will now have to face Shafiq in the election. MB members have suggested the two rulings were politically motivated to shift the balance of power.
Egypt's transition to a new government after the fall of Mubarak's regime has faced many legal and political obstacles. The Egyptian parliament on Tuesday elected another panel [JURIST report] of 100 delegates to write a new constitution for the country. The election was able to take place when lawmakers finally reached an agreement [JURIST report] on the composition of the constitutional council last week after a controversy over the political balance threatened to halt drafting of a new constitution. Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court in April effectively suspended [JURIST report] the work of the 100-member panel responsible for drafting the country's new constitution after ruling in favor of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the formation of the panel. Egypt's ruling army approved the political isolation law in April after it was passed by parliament [JURIST reports] earlier that month.