The state of emergency announced by President Mohamed Morsy in Ismailia, Port Said and Suez has sparked nationwide controversy.
Several political activists have accused Morsy of breaching the constitution by announcing the state of emergency without going through the Shura Council.
Article 148 of the constitution states that the president shall announce a state of emergency after taking the cabinet’s opinion on the matter, then present the decision to the House of Representatives within the next seven days, in a manner governed by the law. In the absence of the House of Representatives, article 148 states the president should present his decision to the Shura Council instead.
Mohamed Nour Farahat, Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) leader, said: “I don’t see why Morsy’s declaration of a state of emergency is unconstitutional.
“The constitution states the president needs to do that within seven days; he still has almost a week left to present it to the Shura Council.”
Constitutional expert and Cairo University Law Professor Gaber Nassar disagrees: “The president didn’t have to present the state of emergency to the Shura Council before issuing it, but he had to consult the cabinet.”
Nassar said that since the presidential statement announcing the state of emergency fails to mention that the cabinet was consulted, the decision thus violates article 148.
Nassar said: “In a political sense, this decision is flawed. It further isolates the Canal cities and treats them in an unjust, oppressive manner.”
Nassar described the state of emergency as a “security solution,” adding that what is currently needed is a “political solution”.
Morsy declared a state of emergency in the three Canal cities; Ismailia, Port Said and Suez Sunday night following ongoing clashes which left dozens dead. He also announced a curfew in the three cities, from 6am until 9pm, valid since Sunday midnight and for 30 days.