Egypt’s constitutional court on Saturday rejected a request by the ruling military council to rule on whether top officials from Hosni Mubarak’s era can run for the presidency, Al Arabiya correspondent in Cairo reported.
The Islamist-dominated parliament last week drafted a legislation to ban senior figures of the former regime from running in the presidential elections. The legislation was then referred to the ruling military council to sign it into law, but the council sent it to the constitutional court to rule on the issue.
The legislation, if approved, could disqualify former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq -- in power during Mubarak’s last days.
A minister in the army-appointed government last week described the law as “a deviation” that targeted one or two people, according to Reuters.
The presidential election starts on May 23 with two days of voting and is expected to go to a June run-off between the top two candidates. Front-runners include the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi, former member of the Islamist group Abdul Moniem Abul Fotouh and former Arab League chief and Egypt’s foreign minister for a decade, Amr Moussa.
The legislation, an amendment to the law governing political rights, covers anyone who served in a list of top positions in government and the ruling party during Mubarak’s last decade in power. The list does not include the position of minister, meaning it does not threaten Moussa’s bid.
The generals are due to hand power to the new president by July 1 and have been governing with Mubarak’s presidential powers, giving parliament limited authority, though the chamber was elected in Egypt’s most democratic election in six decades.
The latest developments in the presidential campaign further complicate the transition to democracy after the ouster of Mubarak.
Last week, a Cairo court suspended the Islamist-dominated commission tasked with drafting a new constitution amid a boycott by liberals, moderate Muslims and the Coptic church.
The panel, which is evenly divided between parliamentarians and public figures, was elected by the parliament. But most of its members were from the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist fundamentalists who hold the majority in both houses of parliament.
The secular parties claimed their presence was only used as a smoke screen allowing the Islamists to draft a basic law reflecting their ideologies.