The supplementary constitutional declaration (arabic) really does complete the coup in many obvious ways–basically returning martial law (in its more original sense rather than the “state of emergency” that just expired), making the military unaccountable, and grabbing back oversight of the political system for the military just weeks before the scheduled end of military rule. Most of this is clear on the surface and does not need much analysis.
Two more detailed notes I would add that may otherwise be missed:
The Brotherhood’s argument is that the 1987 and 1990 dissolution came only after a popular referendum approved them, and that based on that precedent, a referendum is required now. I do not find that argument convincing because the previous referenda were based on a provision in the 1971 constitution permitting the president to dissolve parliament if that dissolution was approved in a referendum. When the 1987 and 1990 decisions came, the Court apparently advised the president that it was up to him as the executive authority to dissolve the parliament but that his authority to do so could be exercised only with the approval of a referendum (Lord only knows what would happen if the referendum had been rejected, but such things did not happen in those days).
Tariq al-Bishri’s argument is that the constitutional declaration does not give the SCAF any authority to dissolve the parliament and that therefore the correct way to enforce an SCC judgment (since the SCC only rules on the law) is to go to the administrative courts. This argument seems to be legally stronger but politically totally without legs.
There is a weird precedent here–in 1925 after the king dissolved the parliament immediately after it sat, the parliamentary majority, led by the Wafd argued (probably correctly) that the dissolution was unconstitutional. So they met in a hotel after the Parliament was sealed off. I don’t expect that precedent to govern the outcome now, but we might see Sa’d al-Katatni positioning himself as Sa’d Zaghlul.
So in the end, I think that Egypt will follow Hobbes’s maxim “in matter of government, when nothing else is turned up, clubs are trumps.” Those clubs, according to al-Ahram, have already been deployed. “Security” personnel have taken over the parliament and discovered–brace yourselves–that FJP deputies were doing things like preparing a budget different from that of the Ganzuri government.. And they were even talking about what positions people should have after the presidential elections. What clearer evidence could there be of a nefarious attempt to have elected officials govern the country?
The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, sociopolitical, and strategic interests in the Arab world. Through detailed country studies and the exploration of key crosscutting themes, the Carnegie Middle East Program, in coordination with the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, provides analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region. The program has special expertise in political reform and Islamist participation in pluralistic politics.
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