Elections in Egypt: Implications of Recent Court Decisions on the Electoral Framework

Publication Date: 
9 Aug 2012

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Elections in Egypt: Implications of Recent Court Decisions on the Electoral Framework examines the legal challenges against the electoral systems used in the recent elections, the impact of decisions made by the Supreme Constitutional Court and what the future electoral framework might look like. Below is an excerpt of the paper.

Following the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on February 11, 2011, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) assumed power and suspended the country’s constitution. On March 30, 2011, the SCAF issued a Constitutional Declaration, which laid out the constitutional framework that will govern Egypt until a new constitution can be drafted and approved by a constitutional referendum.

Between the time when the Constitutional Declaration was issued and elections were held, the parliamentary electoral system underwent numerous and significant legal revisions amid intense debate among various stakeholders. The SCAF did not settle the details of the system to be used for these elections until early October 2011.

The revisions made to the electoral systems governing parliamentary and presidential elections in post-Mubarak Egypt were not made in a static environment, but rather one in which the roles and powers of various political, government and civil actors were constantly being challenged and redefined. The elections carried out under these circumstances were generally accepted as open, transparent and legitimate; however, certain key aspects of the electoral systems ultimately did not withstand legal scrutiny.

It is critical that the electoral systems used for future parliamentary elections serve to further legitimize and stabilize the transitional process. Building a new political consensus around the future electoral system is an important step and a large undertaking in a short time period with significant political ramifications. The constitution and parliamentary election laws to be developed during the next period will also be crucial to achieving the aims of Egypt’s political transition, and as such, will be important to promoting and consolidating political and democratic progress in the region.

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