Egypt’s highest court dissolves Parliament

Bryna Godar

Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court ordered Thursday that the Islamist-led Parliament must be immediately dissolved, saying its election about six months ago was unconstitutional, according to The Associated Press. It also ruled that ruled that Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister under Hosni Mubarak, can remain a presidential candidate, according to the New York Times.

The New York Times reported that the high court "appears to be engaged in a frontal legal assault on the Muslim Brotherhood," a group that quickly rose to power in Parliamentary elections and whose candidate was the front-runner for the presidency.

The presidential run-off will continue as planned this weekend, and this ruling means whoever emerges as the winner will take power without the balance of a sitting Parliament. The winner "could even exercise some influence over the election of a future Parliament," the New York Times reported.

The court determined that a third of the legislature was elected illegally, and therefore the entire chamber could not stand, according to the AP. The ruling, which dissolves the first freely-elected Parliament in Egypt in decades, means new elections will have to be held for the entire Parliament.

Advocates for a transition to democracy and civilian rule immediately criticized the ruling, calling it a "coup," "an anti-democratic decision" and "an all-out power grab by the military," the New York Times reported.