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Egypt Court Challenges Parliament’s Legality as Fresh Ruling Due

An Egyptian administrative court affirmed a June ruling by the country’s highest court that led to the dissolution of Parliament’s lower house, the state-run Middle East News Agency reported.

The ruling, by judge Magdy El-Agaty of the supreme administrative court, came just hours after another judge within the same circuit postponed until Oct. 15 a separate hearing on the same issue.

Egypt’s constitutional court, the nation’s highest judicial authority, ruled on June 14 that the law governing parliamentary voting was unconstitutional, prompting the governing Supreme Council of the Armed Forces at that time to dissolve the chamber and assume legislative powers. The court confirmed the dissolution of Parliament again in July, after it was briefly reinstated by President Mohamed Mursi, effectively banning lawmakers from meeting again.

The case before El-Agaty’s court today was filed to challenge the method under which individual seats in the lower house were elected.

While that decision reinforces the June recommendation by the constitutional court, the case which made its way to the constitutional court in June is being re-examined by a separate court within the administrative court system. A hearing on that was delayed today until mid-October to give the parties a chance to give supporting documents.

Military Officers

Egypt’s parliament was majority-composed of Islamists, including the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, which held nearly half of the seats. The dissolution of the legislature outraged many in the country, including the Muslim Brotherhood, who saw it as an attempt by the military council to undercut the democratic transition.

Last month Mursi ordered the retirement of the country’s two top military officers amid a power struggle between the leader and the army.

The retirement of Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, who also served under former President Hosni Mubarak as defense minister, was part of a reorganization of the top tier of the armed forces and effectively sidelined the man who had headed the military council that ruled after the ouster of Mubarak. Lieutenant General Sami Enan was also ordered from office. Both men were named as advisers to Mursi.

In addition to the shake-up, Mursi canceled constitutional changes issued by the military before his inauguration that had stripped his office of some of its authority.

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