Egyptian MPs entered the parliament building on Monday for the first time since
the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) dissolved the assembly last
The move, reported by Egypt’s state news agency MENA, came hours
after President Mohamed Mursi issued a controversial new decree that overruled
the military’s decision to dissolve the Islamist-dominated parliament.
president’s decision has increased tensions with SCAF – the 20-strong military
junta that ruled Egypt since Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year – which backs a
June 14 court ruling that said a third of MPs had been elected
Last month the Muslim Brotherhood strongly opposed the
dissolution of parliament, accusing the military of a power grab.
after Mursi’s decree, SCAF convened an emergency meeting to “review and discuss
the consequences,” MENA reported. Meanwhile, despite the strain, Mursi and SCAF
commander in chief Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi both attended an armed
forces graduation ceremony on Monday, with the president even tweeting a
photograph of himself seated next to Tantawi at the event.
Monday, adding to the tension, Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court announced
that its rulings are final and binding on all state authorities, effectively
saying the president does not have the authority to reverse its ruling to
The court said it was “not party to any political
conflict” but that the scope of its mission was to protect the constitution and
prevent violations against it, according to MENA.
The court added that it
holds “exclusive jurisdiction over the constitutionality of
Mursi’s decree has sparked heated debate in Egypt about the extent
of the president’s powers, and has highlighted divisions between Islamist and
non-Islamist MPs – with the former vowing Monday to support Mursi’s decision and
many of the latter saying they would boycott parliamentary speaker Saad
al-Katatni’s call to reconvene in the parliament building on Tuesday.
Monday afternoon the Muslim Brotherhood vowed to stand by the president’s
Also on Monday afternoon, a group of Egyptian lawyers filed a
complaint with prosecutor-general Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, accusing Mursi of
violating the March 2011 Constitutional Declaration and the Egyptian penal code
by going against the High Constitutional Court ruling and recalling parliament,
the Medan el- Tahrir news site reported.
Meanwhile, Al-Wafd, the
newspaper of the liberal-democratic Neo-Wafd party, reported that there have
been a number of lawsuits filed in Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court against
Mursi’s decree, including by leftist MP Abul Ezz el- Hariri.
also spilled over into Egyptian cyberspace, with politicians and ordinary
Egyptians expressing their views on social media sites. Former presidential
candidate Khaled Ali tweeted that Mursi’s decree was a “power struggle,” while
Islamist Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh told his Twitter followers the president’s
decision was “unconstitutional.”
Mursi posted his decision to reconvene
parliament on his official Facebook page late Sunday night, sparking a storm of
comments. Almost 11,000 Egyptians “liked” the post by Monday afternoon, and over
6,800 others wrote comments.
Katatni, Wasat Party MP Essam Sultan and
attorney Nizar Ghorab have previously filed complaints against the decision,
demanding that the People’s Assembly be permitted to enter the parliament
building and arguing that preventing them from doing so violated their legal
rights as representatives of the people.
An Egyptian court decided on
Monday that it will hear those appeals later this week.
In addition to
annulling the dissolution of parliament, the presidential decree also stipulates
a new law that will regulate the parliament and sets out that parliamentary
elections will take place within 60 days of the adoption of a new
That move came in the wake of another controversial SCAF
decree, issued shortly before the presidential runoff elections, that conferred
on the military significant legislative powers in the time before a new
parliament is elected.