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The commissioners for the Supreme Constitutional Court have decided that the Presidential Elections Commission's referral of the Political Isolation Law to the court is invalid, an opinion that if adopted would exclude Ahmed Shafiq from the presidential runoff election two days before it is set to begin.
The independent Al-Shorouk newspaper has said that the commissioners submitted their legal opinion on the constitutionality of the Political Isolation Law on Tuesday, but that the court should reject the referral, as the Presidential Elections Commission (PEC) has no jurisdiction to refer laws to the Supreme Constitutional Court.
The court is scheduled to hear the case on 14 June, two days before the presidential runoff begins. The court is not obligated to accept the opinion of the commissioners.
The Political Isolation Law, if applied, would disqualify Shafiq, Mubarak’s last prime minister, from the presidential race. The law states that those who served as vice president or prime minister under Mubarak, or held high rank in his National Democratic Party in the decade leading up to his ouster, would not be able to hold public office for a period of ten years.
Shafiq, a former air force chief, is up against the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsy in a runoff on 16 and 17 June.
The commissioners say that the PEC is a judicial committee that has an administrative function, as per the Constitutional Declaration. They added that the PEC is not a court, thus cannot be an adversary and judge at the same time vis-a-vis the candidates.
If the court adopts the opinion of the commissioners and refuses to rule on the law, Shafiq would be excluded from the race and the election might be repeated with only 12 candidates. Another possibility is that the elections would not be completely repeated, but a runoff would be held between Morsy and Nasserist candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi, who finished third after the first round of voting.
Judge Adly Mansour, the second vice president of the Supreme Constitutional Court, is presiding over the hearing on 14 June. Farouk Sultan, president of the court, and Maher al-Beheiry, first vice president of the court, had to recuse themselves because they both sit on the PEC.
In their opinion, the commissioners added that the law itself is unconstitutional, as it sanctions punishment against particular individuals who have not committed crimes and is applied retroactively.
The commissioners said that the law also violates the rule of equality by depriving individuals who held certain positions in the former regime of their political rights while ignoring others who held different positions. It also does not allow the affected individuals to challenge the punishment.
Seeking to derail presidential bids by some of Mubarak's top deputies, MPs approved the Political Isolation Law on 12 April.
The law was initially drafted in response to a presidential bid by Omar Suleiman, Mubarak's vice president, who the PEC disqualified from the race on different grounds.