PRESIDENT Hosni Mubarak has asked Egyptian voters to decide the future of the present parliament, raising the prospect of early general elections. Following a court ruling that questioned the legality of the 458-member house, Mr. Mubarak told voters to go to the polls Oct. 11 to decide whether the assembly should be dissolved.
If elections are held, Mubarak's National Democratic Party is expected to win a new majority in parliament.
The Supreme Constitutional Court ruled May 19 that the present parliament was illegally chosen because a 1986 electoral law favored party members over independent candidates.
A similar referendum following legal challenges in 1987 led to the dissolution of parliament and early elections were held.
If voters approve the dissolution, elections should take place within 60 days. It would be the third vote since Mubarak came to power in 1981 after President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Muslim hard-liners
Mubarak ordered the present assembly adjourned until results of the plebiscite were made public. He said he would decree amendments to the electoral law to abolish party lists, giving equal opportunities to party candidates and independents.