Egypt court orders cancellation of April 22 legislative vote

CAIRO (AFP) - Egypt's administrative court on Wednesday ordered the cancellation of controversial parliamentary elections scheduled for April 22, throwing the country deeper into political crisis.

Judge Abdel Meguid al-Moqanen said Islamist President Mohamed Mursi had ratified a new electoral law for the country last month without sending it to the Supreme Constitutional Court for its approval, as required by the constitution.

Consequently, the administrative court referred the law to the constitutional court and cancelled Mursi's decree calling for elections.

This puts Mursi in an uncomfortable position.

The president has repeatedly insisted that elections would usher in stability, dismissing criticisms that the timing of the polls was wrong with the country gripped by unrest and division.

The election had been scheduled to take place in four stages over two months.

Egypt's main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front, had already announced it would boycott the vote - expressing doubts over its transparency - and demanded a new electoral law.

The gulf between the ruling Islamists and the opposition has been growing wider since November, when Mursi issued a decree expanding his powers.

The decree was repealed after intense street pressure, but only after a controversial Islamist-drafted constitution was rushed through.

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