Egypt’s makes U-turn, respecting court’s ruling
Egypt’s President Morsi (3-L) walks with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud (3-R) in Jeddah. We we are a state of the law, Morsi says in a statement. EPA PhotoThe statement issued on July 11 appears aimed at mollifying an infuriated judiciary, which has been placed at the forefront of the complex struggle between powerful generals adjusting to their new Islamist president.
“If yesterday’s Constitutional Court ruling prevents Parliament from fulfilling its responsibilities, we will respect that because we are a state of the law,” the statement said, a day after the court froze Morsi’s decree. “There will be consultations with [political] forces and institutions and the supreme council for legal authorities to pave a suitable way out of this.”
Last week, Morsi ordered Parliament to convene in defiance of a military decision to disband the house in line with a court ruling issued last month, before the generals handed power over to the president.
Morsi’s decree was applauded by supporters, who believed the court’s decision to disband Parliament was political, but it set off a firestorm of criticism from opponents, who accused him of overstepping his authority. According to the country’s interim constitution, drafted by the military generals who took charge after President Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow early last year, the military assumed the dissolved parliament’s powers.
Morsi, who held talks with Saudi King Abdullah yesterday during his visit to Riyadh on his first official trip abroad, involved in a power struggle between Egypt’s first civilian leader and the Mubarak-appointed generals who wanted to retain broad powers even after they transferred control on June 30.
The saga began when the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled on June 14, shortly before Morsi was elected, that the Islamist-led lower house was void and the then-ruling army dissolved it. The president recalled Parliament this week but his decree was slapped down in another court ruling hours after Parliament convened on July 10.
Assembly’s fate in doubt
The assembly’s fate is in doubt, however, with the administrative court deciding on July 11 to look into complaints regarding the panel’s legality next July 17 rather than in September as had been scheduled, the official MENA news agency reported. Should the court declare the Parliament-appointed assembly illegal, the military will appoint a new one, as stipulated in its interim constitution.
The origins of the battle for Parliament lie in the constitutional declaration issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which ruled Egypt during its transition after Mubarak was ousted last year. The declaration, which acts as a temporary constitution until a new one is drafted, granted the military sweeping powers, including legislative control, and rendered the presidential post little more than symbolic.
The SCAF consists of generals appointed by Mubarak, which annulled Parliament because it found that certain articles of the law governing its election were invalid.
Compiled from Reuters and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.