CAIRO - Agence France-Presse
Egyptian protesters and security forces are seen outside the Supreme Constitutional Court, in Cairo, Egypt, 14 June 2012. EPA photo
Egypt's constitutional court ruled on Thursday that a third of the seats in the Islamist-dominated parliament were invalid, stirring fresh uncertainty in the politically divided country.
"The constitutional court ruled unconstitutional some articles of the parliamentary election law related to the direct vote system," MENA reported, referring to the third of seats elected on a first-past-the-post system.
The ruling military decided on a complex electoral system in which voters cast ballots for party lists which made up two thirds of parliament and also for individual candidates for the remaining seats in the lower house.
The individual candidates were meant to be "independents" but members of political parties were subsequently allowed to run, giving the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party an advantage.
That decision was challenged in court.
The ruling will cast all of parliament's legitimacy into question. Parliament speaker Saad al-Katatni, an Islamist, had said before the ruling that the house would have to consider how to implement it.
In the absence of a constitution, suspended after last year's overthrow of president Hosni Mubarak, no authority had the right to dissolve parliament, Katatni said.
He said one possibility would be to hold by-elections for the seats ruled unconstitutional.