Many Egyptians are outraged following the Supreme Court's decision to dissolve the lower house of parliament, temporarily transferring power to the Military Council until new elections are held.
The court ruled that last year's parliamentary elections were unconstitutional, saying they were improperly regulated and that one-third of the seats in the Islamist-dominated parliament were invalid.
Although the court has called for new elections, the ruling is seen as a slight against the democratic will of the Egyptian people, which was only exacerbated by a separate ruling that upheld former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq's participation in the presidential run-off elections this weekend.
Muslim Brotherhood MP Mohamed Al-Beltagy said the rulings amount to a comprehensive coup which is reversing the most noble 16 months in this nation's history ... This is the Egypt that Ahmed Shafiq and those behind him want, BBC reported.
Another Muslim Brotherhood figure, Essam Al-Arian, warned the ruling on parliament will send Egypt into a dark tunnel.
Shafiq, who served under deposed President Hosni Mubarak, is the preferred candidate of the military, but viewed with distrust by Egypt's conservative Islamic political parties -- the Muslim Brotherhood and the ultra-conservative Salafist al-Nour party in particular -- for his role in the former regime.
The Muslim Brotherhood holds the majority of seats in parliament's lower house with 47 percent, followed by al-Nour with 24 percent.
Shafiq will face-off with the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party candidate Mohamed Mursi in run-off elections on Saturday and Sunday.
Mursi said the Supreme Court rulings must be respected despite outrage from members of his coalition.
I respect the decision of the Supreme Constitutional Court in that I respect the institutions of the state and the principle of separation of powers, Mursi told Egyptian TV.
With the elections presenting a conservative Islamist and a former Mubarak-era official as the only two options, secular and liberal Egyptians, many of whom led the uprising in Tahrir Square that toppled Mubarak last year but who represent a minority in parliament, are disillusioned with the unfolding of the democratic process post-revolution and plan to boycott the elections.
The court rulings have only cemented political apathy among this constituency which had once been so energized to take down Mubarak.
Egypt just witnessed the smoothest military coup, said Hossam Bahgat, a human rights activist. We'd be outraged if we weren't so exhausted.