President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi ratified the new amendments to the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) law on Tuesday.
The amendments separated the elections convention from any deadlines set by law in reviewing appeals against the elections law constituencies, according to Law 91/2015.
The amendments will allow the elections to be held before the court makes any final decisions on the appeals presented. This aims at speeding up the pace of holding the parliamentary elections and removing any further hurdles that might delay it, as happened last March. However, the new amendments impose a risk on the dissolution of parliament, if the SCC rules the elections law unconstitutional after the parliament is sworn in.
During the transitional period in 2013, interim president Adly Mansour and the SCC chief issued a new decree stating that there should be a deadline for reviewing appeals presented to the SCC within five days at most. The Ministry of Transitional Justice discussed amendments on this decision in April, and these were approved by Al-Sisi on Tuesday.
In March, the SCC ruled against the electoral districts law as unconstitutional, according to the 2014 constitution. The decision came after parliamentary candidates submitted their applications and tentative dates were set for the elections. The cabinet ordered the committee that wrote the law to work on amendments that abide by the SCC’s ruling.
Egypt has been witnessing an absence of a legislative power for nearly three years. Following the 30 June uprisings, a plethora of laws were ratified by the interim president, and some of them are widely believed to be unconstitutional. In November 2013, Mansour issued the controversial Protest Law, which conflicts with Article 73 of the 2014 constitution that allows peaceful assemblies without prior security notification or monitoring.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Justice sent suggestions for new amendments on the penal code to the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) for review. The six amendments included shortening the duration of appeals review, cancelling appeals by prosecution on death sentences, as well as cancelling appeals on verdicts issued in absentia.
This move comes as a part of a retaliation strategy from the Egyptian authorities against current detainees and former regime prisoners who they believe are behind the security turbulence, and particularly the death of late prosecutor general Hisham Barakat.