Washington — The Obama administration is seeking further clarification from Egyptian authorities on the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court’s June 14 ruling that the country’s parliament should be dissolved, along with a separate ruling that former Prime Minister Ahmad Shafiq should stay in the presidential contest.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters June 14 that it is “not clear to us what the implications are going forward” either for Egypt’s parliamentary process or the second round of presidential elections, scheduled for June 16–17, between Shafiq and Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi.
“As we have said from the beginning, we want to see the Egyptian people have what they fought for, which is a free, fair, democratic, transparent system of government, governance that represents the will of the people, a parliament so elected, a president so elected,” Nuland said.
“Those are the standards that they want. Those are the standards that the international community wants, so we are trying to get a better handle with the Egyptians on how that is going to move forward based on this court decision,” she said.
According to press reports, the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that a third of Egypt’s parliament had been illegally elected in 2011, and it declared that "the makeup of the entire chamber is illegal and, consequently, it does not legally stand."
White House press secretary Jay Carney said June 14 that the Obama administration is reviewing the court's decision.
"We continue to believe Egypt's transition must continue and that Egypt is made stronger and more stable by a successful transition to democracy," Carney said in a statement. "Egypt has an enduring role as a security partner and leader in promoting regional stability and we look forward to continuing our close cooperation with the new government."
Nuland said the Obama administration is also concerned that on June 13 Egypt’s justice minister reinstituted “some powers that seemed to allow the authorities broad ability to detain people during this election period.” The decision comes after the May 31 lifting of the emergency law that had also allowed the Egyptian military to arrest civilians.