Egyptian court delays elections appeal hearing for a week

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 17, 2013 9:38 AM
Egyptian court delays elections appeal hearing for a week

CAIRO (Reuters) - An Egyptian court on Sunday postponed hearing a state appeal against a ruling it made this month which scuppered parliamentary elections and deepened political uncertainty during an economic crisis.

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.

With the country in turmoil since the 2011 overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt has been without a lower house of parliament since the middle of last year, when a court forced its dissolution by striking down the law used to elect it.

Last month President Mohamed Mursi called elections to run from April 22 until late June under a revised electoral law. Most leading opposition parties had announced they would boycott the polls when the Administrative Court canceled Mursi's decree calling them on technical grounds.

Mursi promised to respect the court's decision, but the state lawsuits authority lodged the appeal which will now be heard next week.

Such uncertainty over Egypt's political future along with frequent eruptions of street violence have shaken economic confidence, leading to a sharp fall in the Egyptian pound and dive in foreign currency reserves.

A senior official of the International Monetary Fund was in Cairo on Sunday to discuss a stalled government request for a $4.8 billion loan lifeline.

The Administrative Court ruled earlier this month that the upper house of parliament should have returned the amended election law to the Constitutional Court for approval. Instead it forwarded the law directly to Mursi.

(Writing by David Stamp; Editing by Janet Lawrence)