Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court has ruled that the “political isolation” law endorsed by the country’s parliament is unconstitutional. The law prohibits any member of the previous regime from standing for public office but the court’s decision clears the way for presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq to take part in the election run-off against the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi. Shafiq was the final prime minister in Hosni Mubarak’s government. The leaders of the January 25 Revolution, which ousted the former regime, described the ruling as “worse than expected”.
At the same sitting, the Supreme Court also declared that the election of one third of the members of parliament was “unconstitutional”. The MPs were elected as individuals, not on proportional representation party lists, although some are members of political parties. The decision has sparked-off a debate in Egypt on the validity of the whole parliament amid speculation that it may be dissolved.
According to the Quds Press correspondent in Cairo, demonstrations were held in the vicinity of the court immediately after the decisions were announced. The crowd chanted slogans about “cleansing the judiciary” and there were calls for fresh demonstrations in Tahrir Square.