Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court ruled Sunday that the country’s upper house of parliament — the so-called Shura council — was illegally elected.
As CBS News reports, that is a serious blow to President Mohammed Morsi’s Freedom and Justice party, the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood.
It will essentially cast a pretty big question mark over the constitution the Shura Council drafted and will no doubt embolden the opposition. CBS News explains:
“It was not immediately clear whether the ruling on the 100-member constitutional panel would impact in any way on the charter it drafted. The constitution was adopted in a nationwide vote in December with a relatively low turnout of about 35 percent.
“But even if it does not, the ruling will question the legal foundations of the disputed charter pushed through by allies of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in an all-night session late last year. Critics say the charter restricts freedoms and gives clerics a say in legislation. The Islamists who drafted it hail the document as the best one Egypt ever had.”
Now, the court did decide that it was leaving the Shura Council in place until another election is held. The Guardian reports that a date for an election has not been set; Morsi suggested they may be called in October.
“The SCC also appears to have ruled against arrest powers contained in Egypt’s emergency law, which has been used by successive Egyptian presidents to crack down on opponents,” The Guardian adds.