Egypt’s dissolved Parliament met briefly today in adherence to a decree from recently elected President Mohamed Morsi and in defiance of a Supreme Constitutional Court order and of the country’s most senior generals. Lawmakers only met long enough to approve a proposal by the speaker, Saad el-Katatni of the Muslim Brotherhood, to refer the military’s dissolution of Parliament in June to the Court of Cassation, a high appeals court. Legislators were able to gather in the Parliament building in Cairo.
Egypt’s Parliament is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi’s party. The military’s call to dissolve it, backed up with a judicial order, and Mursi’s call to reconvene indicate nothing than less than the “long-running battle” between the Islamists and the military going back to the rule of deposed leader Hosni Mubarak, says the New York Times.
An Old Rivalry Made Apparent Again
In disbanding Egypt’s Parliament on the even of the first free elections in 30 years, the military also seized complete legislative power for itself until a new Parliament can be elected, and assigned itself a strong role in writing Egypt’s new constitution.
But BBC’s Jon Leyne says that Morsi’s decree, while an “assertion” of his new power as president, could actually end up being a “fairly meaningless gesture.” Any laws Parliament passes now are likely to be struck down by the courts.
Later on Monday, Morsi was seen seated beside Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, the leader of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), during a graduation at a military college.
The Supreme Constitutional Court, saying that its role is “apolitical,” then decreed that the June 14th ruling to dissolve Parliament stood as “the law governing Egypt’s first democratic elections in more than six decades was unconstitutional because party members were allowed to contest seats in the lower house reserved for independents was binding and final.”
Morsi countered by defending his decree, saying that his calling for the election of a new Parliament “showed his respect for the court’s rulings.” The military followed with a statement, saying that it had disbanded Parliament and taken on new powers due to “necessity and the political, judicial and constitutional circumstances the country is going through.”
Photo by Wessam Dewany
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