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Egypt court rejects election law, may delay poll

MYT 11:55:01 PM

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's constitutional court rejected five articles of a draft election law on Monday and sent the text back to the country's temporary legislature for redrafting in a ruling that may delay a parliamentary poll due in April.

"The court has returned the draft parliamentary electoral law to the Shura Council after making five observations on five articles which it found unconstitutional," a court statement said.

A protester, who opposes Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, shout slogans against Mursi and members of the Muslim Brotherhood at Tahrir Square in Cairo February 15, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh
A protester, who opposes Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi, shout slogans against Mursi and members of the Muslim Brotherhood at Tahrir Square in Cairo February 15, 2013. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

It did not immediately disclose which parts of the law had been censured, but the court said it would issue a fuller statement later in the day.

A source in President Mohamed Mursi's office said before the decision that if the court found fault with the law, it could delay passage of the law, and hence the election, by a couple of weeks, but probably not months.

Mursi had been expected to promulgate the electoral law by February 25 and set a date two months later for voting, probably in more than one stage for different regions because of a shortage of judicial poll supervisors.

The constitutional court, made up partly of judges from ousted former President Hosni Mubarak's era, has intervened repeatedly in the transition, dissolving the Islamist-dominated parliament elected after the 2011 pro-democracy uprising.

Its composition was changed by the new constitution passed by a referendum in December.

Mursi was criticised in October for issuing a decree giving himself powers to override the judiciary. He backed down and dropped the decree weeks later following widespread protests.

(Reporting by Marwa Awad; Writing by Paul Taylor; Editing by Alistair Lyon)


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