Last updated: 21 April, 2012

Egypt court cannot rule on poll ban for ex-regime leaders

Egypt’s constitutional court refused on Saturday to rule on a parliamentary draft bill barring former regime figures from standing in next month’s presidential election, judicial sources said.

The court, asked by the ruling military to decide on the bill’s legality, said it could only consider a law after it comes into effect, the sources said.

The military, in charge since an uprising ousted president Hosni Mubarak last year, must first sign off on laws.

The Islamist-majority parliament hurriedly approved the bill on April 12 after Mubarak’s vice president and spy chief Omar Suleiman said he would run in the election.

Suleiman has since been disqualified, for not gathering enough endorsements from all the country’s provinces, along with the Muslim Brotherhood’s Khairat El-Shater, barred because of a previous military court conviction.

The provision, an amendment to the political activity law, excluded any president, vice president or leader of Mubarak’s now dissolved ruling party from candidacy in the May 23 and May 24 election.

If ratified by the military it may disqualify Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, who is also a former air force chief.

But it would not exclude Amr Mussa, a front runner who served as Mubarak’s foreign minister until 2001 before heading the Arab League. He faces the head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm, Mohammed Mursi.

The military has promised it will hand power to the elected president by the end of June.