7 Mar 2013

Court halts elections in Egypt

9:14 am on 7 March 2013

A court in Egypt has suspended general elections that were scheduled to begin next month.

It said the electoral law needed to be reviewed by the Supreme Constitutional Court to determine whether it conformed to the constitution.

President Mohammed Mursi previously announced the polls would begin on 22 April, taking place in four stages over two months.

The elections have been boycotted by the main opposition, amid continuing street protests.

The administrative court said it had acted because the Shura Council - the upper house of parliament - had not returned the amended electoral law to the Supreme Court for final review.

Instead, the court said, the Shura Council sent the law to President Mursi for ratification.

The BBC reports the president can appeal against the ruling.

Egyptian courts have made a number of decisions that have gone against the president and the Muslim Brotherhood.

In June, the lower house was dissolved after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that one of the laws under which the last election in January 2012, was not legitimate.