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Egypt (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Court Suspends Parliamentary Elections

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2025 GMT: Tunisia. Prime-Minister designate Ali Larayedh has presented a new coalition Government to President Moncef Marzouki after two weeks of difficult negotiations.

Earlier today, the hopes of Larayedh and his Ennadha Party, the leading faction in the Government, appeared to be dashed when three political parties that had been asked to join announced they were pulling out of the talks. That left only Ennahda and its secular allies in the previous Government --- Marzouki's Congress for the Republic and Ettakatol -- -- to discuss a new Cabinet and a proposed Government programme.

Tonight's announcement comes a day before a Constitutional deadline to announce the proposed Government.

The current political crisis was sparked by the 6 February protest of opposition politician Chokri Belaid and subsequent protests. Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali resigned when he was unable to form an apolitical Government of technocrats.

1705 GMT: Egypt. Reporters Without Borders has condemned Wednesday's arrest of Le Républicain editor Boukary Ndaou.

Security services seized Ndaou after the newspaper published a letter from a soldier criticizing President Dioncounda Traoré for "benefits granted" to the army officer who led a March 2012 coup.

Ndaou is in an unknown location.

1415 GMT: Egypt. Two British employees of Exxon-Mobil have been released after they were briefly held by unidentified gunmen, the company.

Andy Wills and his wife Caroline were kidnapped in the city of Ras Sidr in the Sinai Peninsula see 1355 GMT). The two were taken to a mountainous area.

The kidnapers had demanded the release of relatives arrested by authorities in the northern city of Marsa Matrouh while smuggling weapons into Egypt from Libya.

1405 GMT: Kuwait. A court has sentenced two more opposition activists to prison terms for allegedly insulting the Emir on their Twitter accounts.

Sager al-Hashash was given two years in jail with immediate effect while Nasser al-Deehani was handed a 20-month term but was asked to pay 200 dinars ($700) to suspend it.

The courts have handed down several prison sentences to a number of opposition activists and former MPs for remarks about the Emir. In February, five activists were acquitted, but dozens of others and former MPs face trial on similar charges and for taking part in "illegal" protests.

1355 GMT: Egypt. Bedouin gunmen in Ethe Sinai Peninsula have kidnapped two British tourists heading for a beach resort.

The Britons were heading in a private car from Cairo to Sharm el-Sheikh, a popular tourist resort, and had stopped to change money in Ras es-Sidr when they were kidnapped by the tribesmen, sources said.

The kidnappers are demanding the release of four prisoners held in Alexandria on charges of arms smuggling.

0810 GMT: Egypt. On Wednesday the Administrative Court threw Parliamentary elections into doubt, declaring that President Morsi's call for a four-stage vote --- beginning on 22 April and ending in June --- had not been properly delivered.

Presidential advisor Mohamed Gadalla has insisted  that the decree is "sovereign" and cannot be overturned by court order. A lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood, to which President Morsi belongs, echoed the comment and said the verdict will be appealed, although another Brotherhood official said this would not happen.

The dispute over Morsi's call for an election began on 18 February, when the High Constitutional Court rejected five articles of the law that would govern the polls and sent it back to the Shura Council, the upper house of Parliament, for amendment.

The Shura Council partially amended the legislation, but did not send it to the HCC for final approval.

Parties outside the Government have praised the court decision. The Salafist Noor Party, which finished second to the Brotherhood's in the last Parliamentary elections, expressed concern that the High Constitutional Court had not asked for final endorsement. The Wafd Party said that Morsi's decision was not "sovereign".

Members of the opposition National Salvation Front said the verdict was a vindication of their call to boycott the election.

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