An Egyptian court suspended the nation's parliamentary elections Wednesday amid increasing turmoil, including boycott threats from Muslim Brotherhood opponents. The two-month-long, multiphase election was scheduled to start April 22.
Parliament had not allowed the constitutional court review the election law to ensure its constitutionality, the court ruled. The law must now be reviewed by the Supreme Constitutional Court to ensure it conforms to the new constitution.
The suspension follows a week of clashes that has left six people dead since Sunday in the Suez Canal city of Port Said. It also follows the refusal by some opposition leaders to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during his recent visit due to the Obama administration's perceived support for the ruling Muslim Brotherhood.
Low-ranking police officers went on strike across Egypt Thursday, protesting the Brotherhood's politicization of the police force.
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's Islamist supporters had hoped the parliamentary election would help generate stability.
Several Coptic Christian leaders, such as former Parliament Member Ehab Ramzi, urged that Copts not run in the election because the voting would be rigged in favor of Muslim Brotherhood-backed candidates.
"I called Copts who were intending to nominate themselves across the country to ask them not to run," Ramzi told Egypt's state newspaper Al-Ahram. "I argued the need to boycott a farce in which boundaries were altered only to secure a Brotherhood victory and then give the chance to claim this was a fair vote. We must boycott the candidates and voters.
"We cannot give legitimacy to the cynical manipulations of the Brotherhood."
Ramzi was not alone. Last month, opposition National Salvation Front leader Mohamed ElBaradei criticized Morsi's decision to hold elections in April, saying they were "a recipe for disaster" due to the turmoil in Egyptian society.
Wednesday's court ruling proves that Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have mismanaged Egypt, ElBaradei said Wednesday.
"The mess continues courtesy of epic failure of governance," ElBaradei said in a Twitter post. The Brotherhood ignored the rule of law, he said, something that has the "characteristic of a fascist state."