A government legal agency representing Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi appealed on Wednesday the court-ordered suspension of a controversial parliamentary election, a judicial official said. But Morsi’s office, which had earlier indicated that it would not appeal, immediately distanced itself from the move. An official said that there was “no going back” on the elections suspension. The elections, coming amid a surge of protests, strikes, and economic shortages, are the latest focus in Egypt’s long-running political conflict. The Brotherhood hopes elections will provide some legitimacy to Morsi’s embattled government. But Morsi’s government is also keen to show that it is not in conflict with the judiciary, a body with which he has clashed several times since he came to power last year. The opposition has meanwhile called for a boycott of the vote, expressing concern they may be fraudulent.
The official says the High Administrative Court will rule on the appeal filed by the Egyptian State Lawsuits Authority on Sunday, alongside a separate appeal of the suspension that was filed by a parliamentarian.
The legal battle over the elections comes amid a months-long crisis pitting Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement against a coalition of mostly liberal- and left-leaning opposition groups. The conflict has involved street protests but has also been fought in the courts.
The conflict was touched off last November when Morsi granted himself immunity from judicial supervision. He later revoked this decision, but not before protests had escalated dramatically.
The March 6 decision that annulled Morsi’s decision to hold elections in April appears. On that day, the lower court ruled that the law governing the elections was illegal and that its passage by the Islamist-dominated parliament was procedurally improper. Presiding judge Abdel-Meguid el-Muqanen said at the time that the law must be reviewed by the Supreme Constitutional Court and that Morsi needed to consult with his Cabinet before calling an election.