The Supreme Administrative Court’s appeals district postponed on Sunday the government’s appeal of an Administrative Judiciary Court ruling suspending elections to 7 April.
The Judiciary Court had ruled to suspend the upcoming House of Representatives elections and referred the parliamentary election law to the Supreme Constitutional Court earlier in March.
The court suspected the election law was unconstitutional and referred it to the Constitutional Court for review, meaning that elections for the lower house of parliament, initially scheduled to start on 22 April, would be postponed until the Supreme Constitutional Court deems the electoral law constitutional.
The State Litigation Authority, the government’s lawyers, appealed the decision on 13 March, despite President Mohamed Morsi releasing a statement saying he would respect the ruling the day it came out on 6 March.
The presidency later released a statement reaffirming its respect for the judicial decision and explaining the appeal as a way to clarify Article 141 of the constitution. The article says that the president should, save for a few select powers on defence, foreign affairs and national security, exercise his authority through the prime minister and cabinet.
Other than potential unconstitutionality, the Administrative Judiciary Court had suspended the elections on grounds that Morsi had signed the elections bill without consulting either Prime Minister Hesham Qandil, who should have co-signed it, or members of the cabinet.
The law, drafted by the Islamist-dominated upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, was initially sent to the Supreme Constitutional Court before passing and being signed into law by President Mohamed Morsi, as determined by the provisions of the new constitution.
Article 177 of the constitution states that the Supreme Constitutional Court has power to deem laws unconstitutional and reverse them except for electoral laws, for which it only gets prior review.
Parliament is supposed to send the draft law to the court before voting on it to determine its constitutionality. The court then returns the draft law back to parliament, and if it deems the draft unconstitutional, attaches the required amendments.
The Shura Council did send the law to the Supreme Constitutional Court, which in turn determined it unconstitutional and attached the required amendments.
Shura members of parliament amended the drafted election law but failed to return it to the court to ensure the amendments fall in line with its ruling, instead referring it to President Morsi, who immediately signed it into law and called for elections.