[JURIST] A former candidate in Egypt’s presidential election and several non-government organizations filed a lawsuit on Tuesday challenging Egypt’s interim constitution, which was put in place by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) [NYT backgrounder]. SCAF amended the constitution on Monday, adding a provision which will transfer power to the newly elected president [JURIST report] by the end of this month, but maintaining broad authority for SCAF officials until the new constitution is created. Specifically, SCAF maintains the sole authority over the military, including appointment of its officers and commanders and, although the new president can declare war, this action is subject to SCAF approval. The interim constitution also gives SCAF legislative powers until a new parliament is created. In his lawsuit, Khaled Ali alleges [Ahram Online report] that the interim constitution gives SCAF unlimited powers that cannot be overruled by any government body.
The Muslim Brotherhood this week claimed that the unofficial result of the presidential elections showed that its candidate Mohammed Mursi won with 52 percent of the vote. Despite the success of a peaceful presidential election on Saturday and Sunday, Egypt has faced continued political turmoil since the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak last year. Last week the Supreme Constitutional Court of Egypt dissolved the country’s Parliament [JURIST report] after finding that one-third of its members were elected illegally. A day earlier the country’s Ministry of Justice issued a decree [JURIST report] restoring broad arrest powers to the Egyptian military to arrest civilians for non-military offenses. Also last week, the Egyptian parliament elected a new constitutional council [JURIST report] after lawmakers finally reached an agreement [JURIST report] on the political composition of the council. Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court in April effectively suspended [JURIST report] the work of the 100-member council responsible for drafting the country’s new constitution after ruling in favor of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the formation of the panel.