Egypt's parliament has been dissolved by the Supreme Constitutional Court, turning Egypt's messy transition to democratic civilian rule into a complete farce. If enforced, today's ruling effectively invests all legislative and executive power in the military leadership represented in the shadowy Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. The drafting of the new constitution would presumably also fall in the military's hands, says Al Jazeera's report.
See why Egypt's generals still run the show.
The implications for Egypt's stability are shattering, and the timing - barely two days before the 2nd round the presidential polls - couldn't be worse. The court, staffed with judges appointed by the overthrown president Hosni Mubarak, has turned the clock back to the period of unaccountable military rule, before December 2011 legislative elections (won by Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party).
It doesn't end there. Justice Ministry has ruled that military police now have the right to arrest civilians, according to Al Ahram, reinstating the state of emergency in all but name. Egypt now has no parliament, no constitution, no legal provisions stipulating the powers of the presidency, and a judicial system apparently under the thumb of the military. Do Saturday polls still make sense?
Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, former presidential candidate, says Egypt has witnessed a military coup (see BBC report for other reaction so far).
And yet the court's move is simply so outrageous it has left analysts puzzled. Mark Lynch at the Foreign Policy blog wonders what exactly the military is trying to achieve. Assume all power, suppress the protests, have their man Ahmed Shafiq elected on Saturday and...then what? The economy is collapsing and any pretence of a legal process has been turned into a joke.
Will this help Freedom and Justice Party to mobilize voters for their candidate, Mohammad Mursi? I would suggest they call the military's bluff and pull out of the polls.
Photo by Getty Images.