Egyptian court delays Mursi’s appeal against poll cancellation

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An Egyptian court on Sunday postponed hearing a state appeal against a ruling it made this month which cancelled parliamentary elections and deepened political uncertainty during an economic crisis, Reuters reported.

The Administrative Court said it had adjourned the appeal hearing until March 24 to allow more time to study the legal arguments in a case which has thrown the final stage of Egypt’s transition to democracy up in the air.

President Mohammed Mursi called for the controversial parliamentary election to take place in April.

The Egyptian State Lawsuit Authority lodged the appeal against the March 6 court order on Wednesday, arguing that President Mursi had acted within his sovereign powers when he called the election.

The lower court had ruled the president’s decree invalid because he had ratified a new electoral law for the vote without sending it to the top court, as required by the constitution.

A judicial body which advises the Supreme Court has recommended that it uphold the lower court’s decision.

The appeal came despite earlier statements from both Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood insisting they would not challenge the ruling.

Egypt’s main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front, had already announced it would boycott the election, expressing doubts over its transparency and demanding a new electoral law.

The gulf between the ruling Islamists and the opposition has been growing since November when Mursi issued a decree expanding his powers.

The decree was repealed under intense street pressure, but only after a controversial Islamist-drafted constitution was rushed through.

The Supreme Court will resume hearings on the appeal on March 24.

Clashes in Egypt

Meanwhile, clashes between Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood members and oppositional protesters were heated on Saturday night in a southeastern Cairo suburb, with reports of “sticks and iron chains” being used during the attacks.

Witnesses, according to local news site Egypt Independent, reported that the clashes Brotherhood members were provoked by protesters spraying graffiti against the group near its headquarters in the Moqattam suburb.

The Brotherhood members then attacked the protesters using sticks and iron chains, witnesses said.
Security forces attempted to disperse protesters and more of them showed up to protect the Muslim Brotherhood headquarters.

Other clashes on Saturday night were also reported in the Sohag province, one of Egypt’s poorest southern cities, where President Mursi was visiting to unveil a housing project and new education complex
Thousands of anti-government protesters tried to storm the hall where he was meeting with local officials.

Police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of supporters and opponents of Mursi during the clashes.