Egypt’s election committee has scrapped a timetable under which voting for the lower house of parliament should have begun next month, state media reported on Thursday, following a court ruling that threw the entire polling process into confusion. Egypt now lies in limbo, with no election dates at a time when uncertainty is taking a heavy toll on the economy – the Egyptian pound is falling, foreign currency reserves are sliding and the budget deficit is soaring to an unmanageable level. The political crisis deepened on Wednesday when the Administrative Court canceled a decree issued by President Mohamed Mursi calling the election. It also returned the electoral law, the subject of feuding between the opposition and Mursi’s ruling Islamists, to the Constitutional Court for review.
State news agency MENA said the elections committee had issued its decision to scrap the voting schedule after “the committee saw the details and reasons for the ruling by the Administrative Court announced on Wednesday”.
Egypt’s turbulent transition to democracy after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak two years ago has been marked by a number of disputes between the ruling Muslim Brotherhood and the judiciary.
Last year Mursi temporarily gave himself sweeping powers and barred the courts from challenging his decisions, a move which provoked waves of violent protests. However, Mursi promised to respect Wednesday’s ruling.