Sunday, July 8, 2012

Morsi confronts SCAF and reinstates parliament

The Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi issued a decree Sunday afternoon ordering the dissolved Maglis es Shaab (lower house of parliament) to resume its legislative activities. Assemblee speaker Saad al-Katatni later on  Sunday issuied a declaration that the assembly will practice its full legislative and regulatory responsibilities as soon as it reconvenes, which is expected "within hours." 
Morsi's presidential decree also said that new elections will be held 60 days after an new constitution has been adopted (which has to been done by referendum). This is not expected before the end of the tear.
 The Supreme Military Council, Egypts military leadership, seemed surprised by the move of the president. Te state news agency MENA said the military council held an emergency session to discuss the decree. A member of the council, who declined to be identified, told Reuters that the generals had not been given prior warning of Morsy's decision. 
 SCAF had in June dissolved the Magles as Shaab (where the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) of the Muslim Brotherhood together with the Salafists holds a majority. That decision was  based on a ruling of the Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) that a third of its members had been elected in an unconstitutional way. In a Constituional Declaration the SCAF gave itself wider powers and also entrusted itself with the powers of the parliament.
Morsi's decree seems to be a clear sign that he, and the Muslim Brotherhood, are not prepared to give up their strong position in the parliament and are ready to confront the military on this issue. The military's response has yet to become known. In the meantime also the judges of the Supreme Constitutional Court seem te be upset. On Monday they will have a plenary meeting to discuss Morsi's step.

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