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Thursday 07th of March 2013 12:42:05 AM GMT

Egypt court suspends elections called by Morsi

Cairo, March 7 (IANS/AKI) Egypt's Administrative Court has overturned a presidential decree by Mohammed Morsi that called for general elections next month.

According to the Al-Ahram daily, the court said the law covering the polls needed to be reviewed by the Supreme Court to determine whether it conformed to the constitution.

Egypt's Islamist president Mohammed Morsi had said the elections would begin April 22, and take place in four stages over two months.

The country remains deeply divided between Islamists and their liberal and secular opponents and the main opposition has boycotted the polls.

The National Salvation Front said it would not contest the polls under an election law which critics said favours Islamists. Morsi denies this claim.

Tensions in the country have intensified since an Islamist-backed constitution -- criticised for failing to protect key rights -- was adopted in December.

More than 70 people have been killed in violence between security forces and protesters since February, following the second anniversary of the revolt that ousted longtime president Hosni Mubarak.

In the last elections held in January 2012, Islamist parties won with an overwhelming majority, with the Freedom and Justice Party of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement taking the biggest share of seats.

The parliament was dissolved in June 2012 after the Supreme Constitutional Court threw out one of the laws under which the elections were fought.

--IANS/AKI
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