Egypt's parliamentary election due in April could end up delayed because of objections from the constitutional court. It has sent five electoral law amendments back to the country's interim legislature for redrafting.
Egypt's constitutional court said on Monday it had determined that five articles in the draft legislation were unconstitutional.
It told the Shura Council – parliament's acting upper house - it must "ensure the fair representation of inhabitants and provinces," according to the online version of the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram.
President Mohammed Morsi had been expected to promulgate new electoral laws early next week. The news agency Reuters quoted a source in Morsi's office as saying, however, the court's intervention could set back polling by weeks, if not months.
The court includes judges who served during the era of Egypt's ousted former president Hosni Mubarak. Its composition was modified under a new constitution passed by referendum in December during a major judicial wrangle.
Morsi adviser resigns
In a parallel development Monday, one of Morsi's advisers, the ultraconservative Islamist Bassam Zarka, resigned in solidarity with a fellow aide.
Khaled Alam Eldin broke down in tears at a press conference, demanded an apology from Morsi and denied complaints that he had abused his office. Morsi had dismissed Eldin on Sunday.
Zarka and Eldin belong to the Salafist Al-Nour party, which got the second largest number of seats in parliament in last year's election, behind Morsi's backers, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The tensions began when Morsi formed his first Cabinet in August and sidelined Salafist groups. The Brotherhood and Al-Nour were initially seen as allies against the liberal and secular minority in the Shura Council and the currently dissolved lower house.
The state news agency MENA reported Monday that four masked men had fired at the vehicle of Al-Nour parliamentarian Osama Fekry as he drove from Cairo to his hometown in the Nile Delta. He was not wounded in the apparent carjacking bid.
Many Egyptians complain of a breakdown in security in the two years since the end of Mubarak's decades-long rule.
ipj/slk (dpa, AP, Reuters)
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