Last updated: 17 March, 2013

Egyptian court mulls Morsi appeal against poll cancellation

Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court began hearings Sunday on an appeal lodged on behalf of the Islamist president against a lower court’s cancellation of a controversial parliamentary election he had called for April.

The Egyptian State Lawsuit Authority lodged the appeal against the March 6 court order on Wednesday, arguing that President Mohamed Morsi had acted within his sovereign powers when he called the election.

The lower court had ruled the president’s decree invalid because he had ratified a new electoral law for the vote without sending it to the top court, as required by the constitution.

A judicial body which advises the supreme court has recommended that it uphold the lower court’s decision.

The appeal came despite earlier statements from both Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood insisting they would not challenge the ruling.

Egypt’s main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front, had already announced it would boycott the election, expressing doubts over its transparency and demanding a new electoral law.

The gulf between the ruling Islamists and the opposition has been growing since November when Morsi issued a decree expanding his powers.

The decree was repealed under intense street pressure, but only after a controversial Islamist-drafted constitution was rushed through.

The supreme court will resume hearings on the appeal on March 24.