A protestor outside Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, Egypt
Photo, Suhaib Salem/Reuters
The headline read, Egyptian parliament dissolved" in this morning's Baltimore Sun.
Yesterday, the Egyptian Supreme Court, or Constitutional Court as it is referred there, dissolved the recently elected parliament in that country that is dominated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamist Salafis. It also and said presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq, the last prime minister to serve under the ousted President Hosni Mubarak, will remain on the ballot for this weekend's presidential election. The dissolved parliament had requested the Court to disqualify Shariq as having been a member of the despised Mubarak regime.
What's notable here all members of this Constitutional Court were appointed during Mubarak's reign and are allies of the former dictator. Also Wednesday, the military council SCAF (Supreme Council of the Armed Forces), in charge of the interim government until July 1, when it has said it would cede power to the newly elected president, declared Martial Law the day PRIOR to the Constitutional Court dissolving the parliament.
This reveals unmistakably prior collusion between the Military Council and the Court, anticipating wide spread opposition to the ruling and potential rebellion by the people. Pictures showed what looked to be thousands protesting the decision outside the Court on Thursday.
Mohamed Beltagy, a Muslim Brotherhood member of parliament said, "This is Egypt which Shafiq and the military council desire. All this equals a complete coup d'etat through which the military council is writing off the most noble stage in the nations history".
Mohamed ElBaradai, the Egyptian Nobel prize winning diplomat and former head of the U.N.'s IAEA nuclear inspectors said, "The election for president in the absence of a constitution and a parliament is the election of a president with powers that even the most entrenched dictatorships have known. It's like electing an emperor. A travesty."
As to the Court's reasoning behind dissolving the parliament it declared that "a third of the chambers seats that were elected should have been reserved for independents", a clear indication of its opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood's domination of that chamber. It should be said all international monitors overseeing those parliamentary elections and runoffs have indicated they were basically fair without serious violations and were therefore legitimate.
From afar, as an outside observer to the recent events in Egypt, it is hard to dismiss the actions by the Constitutional Court and the military council as anything but a coup and an attempt to re-install the old regime minus only Mubarak himself.
Their actions certainly put a cloud over this weekend's presidential election between the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate Mohammed Morsi and Shafiq and throws into complete disarray Egypt's move toward representative democracy and the promise of the military ceding its authority to civilian rule on July1.
A few other things resound in the head of this observer after seeing the events of last years Tehrir Square protests that precipitated the fall of Mubarak. Millions of Egyptians threw off their shackles and passivity. It would be hard to imagine these people would again tamely submitting to a restoration of Mubarak type despotism, with its oppressive internal security apparatus orchestrating widespread fear and the political detention of opponents.
We'll have to stay tuned to see how this all plays out.