CAIRO - Rulings by Egypt's constitutional court that dissolve the Islamist-dominated parliament and allow Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister to continue in the presidential race amount to "a complete coup," a former presidential candidate said on Thursday.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh said that a government decree issued on Wednesday granting military police and intelligence services the power to detain civilians was part of the same action.

"Keeping the military candidate (in the race) and overturning the elected parliament after granting the military police the right to arrest is a complete coup and whoever thinks that millions of youth will let it pass is deluding themselves," he said.

He was referring to Ahmed Shafiq, the former prime minister who was once head of the air force. Shafiq's right to run for president had been contested by a law passed by parliament which the court declared on Thursday as unconstitutional.

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