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Egypt’s Sisi calls for election law amendments

Mohamed el-Shahed, AFP | Members of Egypt's constitutional court hold a session to rule on the law organising the upcoming parliamentary elections on March 1, 2015 in the capital Cairo

Egypt’s president ordered Sunday an amendment of laws linked to a March-April poll after a court ruled an article was unconstitutional. Meanwhile, the election committee said it was now working on a new timetable for the vote.

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Earlier Sunday, the Supreme Constitutional court in Cairo ruled that an article in a law defining voting districts was constitutional, opening the way for a possible delay in the poll.

The country’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi immediately called on the government to amend laws related to the election within one month.

“The president issued directives to the government to quickly make the necessary legislative changes to the laws organising the election process,” a statement from the presidency said.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Supreme Election Committee said it was working on a possible new schedule for holding the election.

“The committee is working on a defining a new timetable for the electoral measures,” the committee’s spokesman, Judge Omar Marwan, told Reuters.

Egypt has been without a parliament since June 2012 when a court dissolved the democratically elected main chamber, reversing a major accomplishment of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

“The court ruled that Article 3 in Presidential Decree Law 202 for 2014 on dividing constituencies in the parliamentary election ... was unconstitutional,” said judge Anwar al-Asy.

The Administrative Court is due to meet later this month to rule on whether the election will be delayed, judicial sources said.

The parliamentary election is the final step in a political roadmap the army announced in July 2013 after ousting Islamist Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, following mass protests against his troubled year in office.

Egyptian leaders say the election shows their commitment to democracy but critics say Sisi, who as army chief toppled Morsi, has undermined freedoms gained after the uprising that ended Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

In the absence of parliament, Sisi has wielded legislative authority to introduce economic reforms that have impressed investors, while also curtailing political freedoms.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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