EGYPT. Egypt’s parliament briefly reconvened for the first time since President Mohamed Mursi issued a decree to reinstate the legislature, defying a military order to dissolve it last month.
Parliament adjourned after agreeing to ask Egypt’s highest appeals court to examine the Constitutional Court verdict that led the country’s senior generals to disband the Islamist- dominated body, Speaker Saad El-Katatni said today in a session aired live on state television. The Constitutional Court said yesterday its rulings are final and binding.
Egypt’s power struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood, the military and the judiciary has escalated in the past week, deepening divisions in a country struggling to recover from the unrest that accompanied last year’s uprising against Hosni Mubarak. Dozens of protesters gathered around the assembly building in central Cairo, holding anti-military banners and shouting pro-Mursi slogans.
“As parliamentarians and members of the Freedom and Justice Party, we respect the judiciary’s decisions,” Adel Rashed, a lawmaker with the Brotherhood’s political arm, said in an interview before walking into the assembly. “President Mursi’s decree doesn’t conflict with the high court’s ruling. Today’s session will discuss how to implement that ruling.”
The Constitutional Court had held that some aspects of the parliamentary elections that ended in January, in which the Brotherhood’s party won almost half the seats in parliament, were unconstitutional.
Parliamentary sessions won’t resume until the appeals court ruling, the state-run website Ahram Online reported today. In a separate case, an administrative court considering cases filed against Mursi’s decree postponed the hearings until July 17.
Mursi, who comes from the ranks of the Brotherhood, was elected president with a slender majority last month. His July 8 decree says another parliamentary ballot will be held within 60 days of the approval of a new constitution in a referendum. The charter has yet to be drafted.
The president’s move came after the military council last month decided to retain legislative powers and curtail those of the presidency. The council took power in February 2011 after the ouster of Mubarak, a former air force commander.
“I’m not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or FJP, but I support Mursi’s decision because for the first time we have someone really challenging the military council,” said Ahmed Hussein, a 29-year-old restaurant worker who showed up at the gates of parliament. “This is only about supporting the democratically elected president, not clashing with anyone.”
Egypt’s benchmark EGX 30 index gained 0.2 percent at the close in Cairo.