Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court, appointed by ousted President Hosni Mubarak, threw Egypt into turmoil on Thursday by effectively ordering the dissolution of the country's first popularly elected parliament in six decades, and striking down a law it passed that barred Mubarak's former prime minister from running in this weekend's presidential runoff election. Egypt's ruling military council (SCAF) said the election, between former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik and Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, will go on as planned, though whoever is elected might now have to lead the country without a parliament or a constitution — lawmakers were just starting the process of writing a new, post-Mubarak constitution. Is the bid to disband the Brotherhood-dominated parliament and boost Shafik the death knell for the already-embattled Tahrir Square revolution that swept Egypt and booted Mubarak from power?
The ailing revolution is dead: "Egyptian politics is prone to exaggeration and panic," but Thursday's high court rulings are the rare occasion where the hysteria is warranted, says Marc Lynch at Foreign Policy. After this military-judicial coup, Egypt now has no parliament, no constitution, a judiciary that's "become a bad joke," a discredited military, and no hope of "producing a legitimate, consensus-elected" president this weekend. I think "it's fair to say the experiment in military-led transition has come to its disappointing end."
"That's it for Egypt's so-called transition"
This is just another setback on a long path: Certainly, the "stunningly cynical" decision to dissolve parliament casts a pall over "Egypt's endlessly befuddling transition from authoritarian rule," says The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. But "it isn't a death knell for Egyptian democracy." In truth, the military state never gave up any real power, and now it's showcasing that, first by restoring martial law and then with these rulings. That's a setback to "an orderly and consensus-based transition to democracy," but the march will continue in fits and starts.
"Egypt's June surprise"
The court is only delaying the inevitable: The high court did just deal "a major blow to the pro-Sharia forces" that have dominated Egyptian politics since post-Mubarak elections started, says Robert Spencer at FrontPage Magazine, but it probably only managed to briefly "stave off the inevitable" Brotherhood-led Islamization of this Western-oriented secular nation. The public seems to want Islamist rule, and unfortunately for the West, and Egypt's Coptic Christians, it's what they'll eventually get.
"Egypt's High Court tries to stave off Sharia"