The director of the Arab Centre for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession (ACIJLP), lawyer Nasser Amin, filed on Sunday a report to the State Council against President Mohamed Morsi for refraining from holding presidential elections after the issuance of the 2012 constitution.
In a statement released by the ACIJLP, Amin said that the constitution defined direct elections as the only mechanism of choosing a president, and not referendums. Article 146 of the constitution states that the president is elected through the direct secret ballot mechanism using an absolute-majority voting system.
Raafat Fouda, Cairo University legal professor and constitutional expert, stated that Amin’s legal argument is invalid. He cited Article 226 of the constitution, which falls under the “transitional provisions” section, stating that the term of the current president (namely Morsi) ends four years after his assuming office.
Amin stated that Article 226 revolved around the entitlement of the people to elect a new president following the issuance of a new constitution. He added that the article negates the legitimacy of the direct secret ballot mechanism of electing the president.
“The president was thus inaugurated through the referendum held on the constitution and not through direct elections,” the statement read. “A separate referendum should have been held for this article alone.”
Amin said that the people’s positive vote on the constitution does not translate into their approval of Article 226. “Holding a referendum on an issue which breaches the constitution or the laws is not possible,” he said in the statement.
In his report to the State Council, Amin called on the court to open the floor for candidates to run in new presidential elections.
“There isn’t a court with the proper jurisdiction to take on such a lawsuit,” Fouda said. “Even if the State Council considers the suit, it would eventually turn it down.”
Fouda stated that as long as Morsi’s term has not elapsed, no judicial authority has the jurisdiction to obligate him to hold presidential elections.
Amin’s lawsuit comes at a time when opposition groups are preparing for nationwide protests on 30 June, the first anniversary of Morsi’s inauguration, to demand early presidential elections. The protests were originally called for by the Tamarod campaign which is collecting signatures from citizens withdrawing their confidence from Morsi’s presidency.