EgyptSource

Hamas members will be arrested and their money and headquarters will be confiscated, Justice Minister Mahfouz Saber said Tuesday, after a court ruling branding the group a terrorist organization. Saber told state media that the government-run committee which has been involved in freezing assets of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood will start to do the same for all Hamas assets and possessions. 

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A number of illusions have surrounded the concept of democracy in Egypt since the 1950s, placing democratic ideas under a kind of cognitive, moral, intellectual, and political “siege” that prevented them from taking root in Egyptian society.  These illusions are among the factors that have allowed authoritarianism to remain entrenched in Egypt for such a long time. Indeed, it is thanks to these illusions that Egypt’s rulers have been able to contain popular demands for democracy – a democracy defined by justice, rule of law, alternation of power, civic peace, and guarantees for personal, civil, economic, social, and political rights and freedoms.

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An Egyptian court on Tuesday ordered that the trial session of ousted president Mohamed Morsi and ten others on charges of spying to Qatar be held as a closed session, citing national security concerns.

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Egypt’s parliamentary elections are on hold until further review of a ruling on the unconstitutionality of a law defining voter constituencies, the spokesman for the Higher Electoral Commision (HEC) said on Sunday. The Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) ruled earlier in the day that Article 3 the Constituencies Law issued by Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was “unconstitutional,” with certain constituencies drawn incorrectly. 

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With the many legal challenges facing Egypt’s coming parliament, even if it is not dissolved by a ruling of the Supreme Constitutional Court, it may still be dissolved by the president. The political system in Egypt’s Constitution is a distorted one, based on the consolidation of the powers of the president at the expense of the other branches of government, and of the parliament in particular. Indeed, true authority in Egypt is not exercised by the parliament as a representative of the will of the people; rather, it is the president who holds supreme authority.

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The Egyptian cabinet issued an appendix to an earlier decree on Wednesday regarding the country’s political borders and tightening military control on the border with Libya. The addition to the November 2014 decree requires residents who moved to the western border city of Salloum after 1967 to obtain a written military clearance. 

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There have been various legal reasons used to challenge the constitutionality of the laws organizing the upcoming parliamentary elections. For the most part, these reasons are based on controversial legal articles, many of which were rejected by a large segment of the political forces in Egypt.

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According to a timeframe put in place by the High Elections Commission (HEC) in January, a new Egyptian parliament should be elected and convened by mid-May, 2015, at the latest. However, a study of the current situation, particularly in legal and constitutional terms—irrespective of the political context and electoral alliances that may be formed—indicates that the parliament will face a number of major obstacles.

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US lawmakers did not raise any objections to a proposed $1.3 billion military assistance package for Egypt during two days of hearings with Secretary of State John Kerry. Their silence is the clearest sign yet that Congress is lining up behind President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as he takes on the Islamic State and other Islamists. 

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Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) adjourned on Tuesday the trial determining the constitutionality of the parliamentary elections laws to March 1, as a verdict is expected to be returned next session.

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