A year of tumultuous times for all branches of state

The year 2012 was supposed to witness Egypt’s transition from the revolutionary state back to the stability of elected bodies and sovereign institutions.

However, the transition turned out to be longer and more complicated than expected, and the final outcome of the year was an elected president, a dismantled Parliament and a constitution that a considerable number of political players are unhappy with.

Egypt Independent lays this tumultuous process in chronological order within each branch of government.

Executive power

10 March: The nomination process for presidential elections opens. From that day until the final list of candidates was announced in May, candidates dropped in and out of the presidential race due to legal complications.

8 April: As doubts surface regarding the eligibility of Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat al-Shater, the Brotherhood decides to field a back up candidate, Mohamed Morsy, in the last day of nomination.

15 April: The elections committee disqualifies 10 candidates who were found illeligible, including Shater, former spy chief Omar Suleiman and Salafi preacher Hazem Salah Abu Ismail.

24 April: The ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces ratifies the political isolation law issued by Parliament, which temporarily suspends the political rights of Hosni Mubarak’s regime men. As a result, the elections committee disqualifies Mubarak’s last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq.

25 April: The committee accepts Shafiq’s appeal, reinstates him in the race and refers the political isolation law to the Supreme Constitutional Court.

8 May: An administrative court rules that referring the law to the Supreme Constitutional Court is outside the jurisdiction of the committee. This raises speculations that Shafiq would be disqualified.

12 May: The Supreme Administrative Court ruled in favor of the elections committee in its appeal against the ruling denying it the right to refer the law to the SCC.

23 May: The polls open for the first round of the presidential election.

28 May: The most debated candidate, Shafiq, and the last to join the race, Mohamed Morsy, move on to the runoff.

14 June: Two days before the runoffs, the legitimacy of Shafiq’s candidacy is finally confirmed, when the SCC rules against the political isolation law.

17 June: The final round of elections concludes, followed by a week of confusion in which both candidates announce and celebrate their victory, warning of election fraud in favor of the other candidate.

24 June: The elections committee announces Morsy’s victory with 51.7 percent of the vote and the executive power is transferred from the SCAF to Egypt’s first post-revolution elected president.

Legislative authority

23 January: The first post-revolution Parliament is inducted and takes over the legislative authority, which the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces had held since the dissolution of both houses of Parliament in February 2011. But before relinquishing legislative power, the SCAF controversially issued three laws in the period between the election of the Parliament and its induction.

28 February: The Shura Council is inducted. One-third of the council that is supposed to be appointed by the president remains vacant due to the absence of a president.

14 June: The Supreme Constitutional Court dismantles the People’s Assembly on the grounds that the elections law distributing the seats into one-third for individual winners and two-thirds for party lists is unconstitutional. The law was issued by the SCAF in December after political parties objected to an earlier law issued in June 2011 distributing the seats in half between lists and individuals.

18 June: The SCAF issues a constitutional declaration assigning legislative authority back to itself.

8 July: President Mohamed Morsy attempts to reverse the dissolution of Parliament, inviting the outgoing assembly to reconvene and calling for early parliamentary elections.

10 July: Considering the president’s decision an infringement on its sovereignty, the SCC orders a halt on the president’s decision to restore Parliament, warning that not respecting its rulings is punishable by law.

12 July: As a result of the judiciary’s outrage, Morsy withdraws his decision to return Parliament.

11 August: Unable to revive the Parliament, Morsy issues a constitutional declaration giving himself legislative power.

21 December: Morsy appoints the missing third in the Shura Council. The appointments were criticized for including a large number of Muslim Brotherhood members and military figures.

26 December: Following the passing of the constitution, Morsy gives the legislative power to the Shura Council, elected in February with a participation rate of less than 8 percent. 

The judiciary

11 October: President Mohamed Morsy appoints Prosecutor General Abdel Meguid Mahmoud as ambassador of the Vatican in an attempt to remove him from his position, which has immunity from the executive authority. However, Mahmoud denies having accepted the new position and announces that he will stay in his position as prosecutor general.

13 October: Morsy retracts his decision to remove Mahmoud, following a meeting with the Supreme Judicial Council that was mediated by the latter and then-vice President Mahmoud Mekky.

22 November: Morsy issues a constitutional declaration that includes removing Mahmoud and appointing Talaat Abdallah in his place as prosecutor general, in addition to giving his decisions immunity from judicial oversight and to the Shura Council and the Constituent Assembly from dissolution by court, although the Supreme Constitutional Court was viewing cases against them at the time.

24 November: Following an emergency General Assembly meeting at the Judges Club and a majority vote, the head of the club, Ahmed al-Zend, announces the suspension of courts and prosecution, and a judicial boycott of the constitutional referendum in response to Morsy’s declaration. Many courts across the country respond to the decision, and media reports would signal that 90 percent of judges boycotted the referendum that took place on 15 and 22 December.

2 December: Members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups surround the SCC and start a sit-in on the day the court is scheduled to rule in cases calling for the dissolution of the Shura Council and the Constituent Assembly. The court subsequently decides to suspend its work until the sit-in ends.

12 December: The new prosecutor general, Talaat Abdallah, transfers Mostafa Khater, the general prosecutor for East Cairo, to Beni Soueif for six months, after the latter released all those arrested in the clashes between Morsy’s opponents and supporters that took place on 5 December by the presidential palace and caused 510 deaths. Khater found no evidence to keep the 137 suspects in custody and only kept 12 pending investigations. Morsy announced in a televised address that the suspects had confessed to being paid to create chaos. In response to the decision, thousands of the Public Prosecution members protested in front of the prosecutor general’s office. 

13 December: Abdallah retracts his decision to transfer Khater and announces that he will leave office on 23 December after having submitted his resignation to the Supreme Judicial Council, which transferred it to the Justice Ministry.

14 December: In a statement to foreign media from the office of Essam al-Haddad, the president’s aide for foreign affairs, Haddad describes the SCC as a counter-revolutionary power, calling its ruling to dissolve the People’s Assembly in June “suspicious.”

17 December: The SCC responds to the accusation with a statement accusing Haddad of damaging its reputation.

22 December: The prosecutor general retracts his resignation and says he had submitted it under pressure.

23 December: Thousands of the Public Prosecution members protest Abdallah’s decision to remain in his post, and announce a sit-in. That night, unknown assailants attack Zend with rocks and birdshot as he exits a Judges Club meeting over Abdallah’s decision.

26 December: The Supreme Judicial Council, Zend and heads of Judges Club branches in governorates meet with Abdallah and urge him to relinquish his post. That morning, following the passing of the constitution, Brotherhood members end their sit-in at the SCC allowing it to resume its work. The court’s general assembly sent a recommendation to Morsy to reinstate its members who were excluded after the new Constitution passed, lowering the number of its members from 18 to 11. 

29 December: The president accepts the recommendation of the SCC.

30 December: The SCC announces 15 January as the ruling session in the cases against the Shura Council and the Constituent Assembly after the constitutional declaration that protected them fell with the passing of the constitution.

31 December: Zend’s meeting with the Supreme Judicial Council regarding the prosecutor general fails as Abdallah’s office announced that his resignation was not considered an option.

The constitution

24 March: Both houses of Parliament convene and elect the 100 members of the Constituent Assembly, dominated by Islamists.

10 April: The Supreme Constitutional Court rules to dissolve the Constituent Assembly, deeming it unrepresentative.

13 June: Only one day before the SCC rules to dissolve the People’s Assembly, both houses of Parliament elect a new Constituent Assembly, also dominated by Islamists, like the first one.

18 June: Following the dissolution of Parliament and only days before the election of a president, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces issues a complementary constitutional declaration, expanding its powers. Among other powers, the declaration returned the legislative authority to the SCAF. It also gave the SCAF the right to form a new Constituent Assembly in case the current one fails and gave it, the president, the prime minister and the Supreme Judicial Council the right to veto articles in the draft constitution.

The declaration completed the one issued by the SCAF in March 2011, which was the constitutional reference since the suspension of the 1971 Constitution in February 2011.

11 August: Following his election, President Mohamed Morsy issues a declaration canceling the SCAF’s June declaration, and reserving the legislative authority and the right to form a new constituent assembly for himself.

He also retires the head of the SCAF, Hussein Tantawi, and Chief of Staff Sami Anan, excluding them from the political scene, which they had dominated for two years.

23 October: After repeatedly postponing several cases against the Constituent Assembly, the administrative court refers the cases to the SCC.

16 November: Church representatives withdraw from the Constituent Assembly in objection to the draft constitution.

18 November: Most liberal representatives withdraw from the Constituent Assembly, also announcing their disapproval of the final draft.

21 November: Morsy issues a new declaration giving his decisions, the Shura Council and the Constituent Assembly immunity from the judiciary, and giving himself the right to take any action necessary to protect the revolution, national unity and national security.

1 December: After a two-day marathon by the remaining members of the Constituent Assembly to finish the draft constitution, the assembly hands it over to the president. Hours later, the president calls for a referendum on the constitution on 15 December.

2 December: The SCC is forced to cancel a session in which it was scheduled to rule on the cases against the Constituent Assembly, due to protests by the Islamist supporters of the draft constitution outside the court.

8 December: Following outrage from the judiciary, opposition and the public over Morsy’s November declaration, he issues another one to replace it, removing the most controversial clauses but stating that their effects are not to be reversed.

25 December: The elections committee announces that the constitution passed the referendum with 63.8 percent of the vote, officially becoming Egypt’s first post-revolution Constitution.

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