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Egypt At The Brink As Court Rulings Favor Military Ahead Of Presidential Runoff



CAIRO - The Egyptian capital remained tense Friday as pro-democracy activists and Islamists called for massive protests after a pair of judicial rulings by the country's Supreme Constitutional Court have again put both civil order and longterm democracy at risk.

One day ahead of the opening of polls in a landmark presidential runoff election, some of Egypt's "Arab Spring" leaders called for a rally in Cairo's Tahrir Square dubbed: "Together against the smooth military coup," Al Jazeera reported.

Sixteen months after the fall of longtime President Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's highest court confirmed on Thursday the legitamcy of former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik's presidential candidacy, despite his direct ties to the Mubarak regime, and invalidated a third of the seats in the lower house of the Islamist-dominated Parliament installed earlier this year.

The rulings threaten to destabilize an already fragile political process that pits the two dominant forces in Egypt, the army and the Muslim Brotherhood, against each other.

The Constitutional Court ruled that some of the parliamentary election rules from the legislative race earlier this year were unconstitutional. Specifically, it ruled that the seats attributed through an individual, "first-past-the-post" system were invalid because candidates who were supposed to be independent were sometimes members of established parties, Reuters reported.

According to the Al Masry Al Youm's affiliate, Egypt Independent, the ruling effectively means that the entire lower house of the Egyptian Parliament will be dissolved, although what comes next is unclear.

The Court also ruled that former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik was eligible to run, striking down a "political isolation law" that would have barred him from the presidential race. Shafik, seen as the army's anointed candidate, is up against Mohamed Morsi, who represents the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The BBC reported that demonstrators gathered for the ruling and demanded that Shafik be disqualified, as opposition leaders warned that the rulings amounted to a "coup."

The secound round of the Egyptian presidential race will take place this coming weekend.

(This article was updated at 12:35 p.m. Paris time)

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Why The World Still Needs U.S. Leadership — With An Assist From China

Twenty years of costly interventions and China's economic ascent have robbed the United States of its global supremacy. It is time for the two biggest powers to work together, to help the world.

Photograph of Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden walking side by side in the Filoli Estate in the U.S. state of California​

Nov. 15, 2023: Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden take a walk after their talks in the Filoli Estate in the U.S. state of California

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BOGOTÁ — The United States is facing a complex moment in its history, as it loses its privileged place in the world. Since the Second World War, it has been the world's preeminent power in economic and political terms, helping rebuild Europe after the war and through its growing economy, aiding the development of a significant part of the world.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

Its model of democracy, long considered exemplary around the world, has gone through a rough patch, thanks to excessive polarization and discord. This has cost it a good deal of its leadership, unity and authority.

How much authority does it have to chide certain countries on democracy, as it does, after such outlandish incidents as the assault on Congress in January 2021? The fights we have seen over electing a new speaker of the House of Representatives or backing the administration's foreign policy are simply incredible.

In Ukraine's case, President Biden failed to win support for the aid package for which he was hoping, even if there is a general understanding that if Russia wins this war, Europe's stability would be at risk. It would mean the victory of a longstanding enemy.

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