Egypt: court cancels Morsi decree calling April elections

Arab Spring in turmoil. Libyan President dodges ass'n attempt

07 March, 10:05

(ANSAmed) - ROMA, MARCH 7 - A face-off between Egypt's judiciary and Premier Mohamed Morsi stepped up a gear Wednesday when an administrative court ordered the cancellation of a decree issued by Morsi to call general elections starting April 22. The court justified its decision by saying that the Shura Council, Egypt's upper house of parliament, did not return the amended electoral law to the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) for final review before passing it.

The office of the Egyptian presidency has announced that it will appeal the decision. The opposition had already thrown down the gauntlet, vowing to boycott the elections and making bold gestures of their stance. ElBaradei and other leading opposition figures refused to meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry during a recent visit to Cairo during which he invited them to participate in the elections, slamming it as "outside interference,".

The chaos marked another day of tension in the country as violent protests rage in the streets. In Port Said, clashes between demonstrators and police moved into a fourth day with an attempted assault on a government building that saw police respond break up the crowds with tear gas.

In an attempt to quell tempers during a spate of violence that has claimed many victims, the government sacked the chief of security in the city.

In Libya, too, the so called Arab Spring is free-falling into winter. Hundreds of armed youths on Tuesday stormed Parliament calling for the adoption of the law of exclusion, a rule intended to limit the political participation of former members of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. The situation reached tipping point when the crowd held some deputies captive inside the building. The official seat of the Assembly was occupied a month ago by veterans of the uprising, and only released Wednesday morning.

On escaping the scene President of Parliament Mohamed Magarief narrowly dodged an a lethal attack when his armoured car was pounded by a "hail of bullets".

Magarief, who had already escaped an assassination attempt in early January in Sabha, was unharmed.

The steady escalation in violence is sparing noone, including Westerners and non Muslims. Also in Tripoli on Sunday a gunman narrowly missed when he opened fire on a Catholic priest in the city's cathedral.

In Benghazi over the last few days Coptic Christians have been the target of attacks, intimidation and indiscriminate arrests.

Meanwhile a direct link has been thrown up between the death of the U.S. ambassador, Chris Stevens, in Benghazi in September and al-Qaeda.

Quoting western secret service sources, CNN reports that shortly after the attack on the U.S. embassy ​​which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Stevens on Septemper 11, 2012, a phonecall was made from Benghazi to Moktar Belmoktar, the brains behind an attack on an oil field in Amenas in Algeria which killed more than 30 foreign hostages. "Congratulations", the anonymous caller told Belmoktar. (ANSAmed)
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