CAIRO (Reuters/AFP) - Egypt’s parliament approved a revised election law on Thursday setting the rules for lower house parliamentary polls due to be held later this year, but critics are concerned the new statute will not guarantee a fair vote.

The Islamist-led upper house will now send the lower house election law, along with a revised political rights law, to the Supreme Constitutional Court to check the legality of the bills that will govern the vote.

“We object to the laws,” said Abdel Ghaffar Shokr, a member of the National Salvation Front, a loose alliance of leftist and liberal parties. “When the law goes to the court for review, we believe the court will object to it,” he said.

Shokr said the upper house of parliament is dominated by Islamists who refuse to listen to secular politicians.

President Mohamed Mursi, an Islamist freely elected after the 2011 uprising that toppled autocratic predecessor Hosni Mubarak, originally called elections for April but postponed them when the court annulled the decree setting the dates. Mursi has said the elections could now begin in October.

The election will pick a new lower house to replace the Muslim Brotherhood-led chamber dissolved last year by a court ruling. The NSF had said it would boycott the elections called for April, asserting that the law was geared to suit Islamists and the government should be changed to guarantee a fair vote.

President Mursi ordered the withdrawal of complaints filed against journalists for publishing rumours about him, said a statement posted Wednesday on the presidency’s Twitter account.

“The president has ordered the withdrawal of all legal complaints filed against journalists for publishing rumors on him,” the statement said.

The president’s order to withdraw legal complaints against journalists pertains to those complaints filed by his legal staff. No details were given on specific cases. State news agency MENA said the decision had been taken “out of respect for freedom of speech”. One case in which the presidency took legal action was against television presenter Mahmoud Saad.

He interviewed psychologist Manal Omar, who claimed Mursi suffered psychological problems as a result of having been jailed under the regime of ousted president Hosni Mubarak. During his campaign for the presidency last year, Mursi committed himself to guaranteeing media freedoms, promising not to “prevent anyone from writing”.

But lawyer and human rights advocate Gamal Eid said there have been four times more complaints for “insults against the president” in the first 200 days of Mursi’s administration than in all the 30 years of Mubarak’s rule.

The most celebrated case is that of wildly popular Bassem Youssef - whose weekly political satire programme Al-Bernameg (The Show) has spared few public figures of merciless critique.