Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Morsi reconvenes dissolved parliament

09 July 2012, 14:08

Cairo - Egypt's Islamist president fired the first volley on Sunday in his battle with the nation's powerful generals, calling on the Islamist-dominated parliament to reconvene despite a military-backed court ruling that dissolved it.

A week into his presidency, the surprise move by Mohammed Morsi threatened to plunge the country into a new bout of instability and violence, nearly 17 months after the ouster of authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.

"This is the start of a battle that has for some time been brewing," said Negad Borai, a prominent rights lawyer and activist. "In this battle, the military may be the weaker opponent since it is up against an elected president."

Morsi's decree appeared to take the generals off guard. In the first sign of an imminent crisis, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces held an "emergency meeting" shortly after it was announced. The official Middle East News Agency said the generals met to "review and discuss the consequences" of the decision.

A significant step

The Supreme Constitutional Court, the tribunal that dissolved the legislature last month, was to meet on Monday to discuss the issue.

Morsi, a member of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, which has long been at odds with the military, also called for new parliamentary elections within 60 days of the adoption of a new constitution, which is not expected before late this year.

The dual moves were seen as a significant step by a leader whose authority was called into doubt by the generals' power grab in the days before and after the June 16-17 presidential run-off.

Last month, the then-ruling military generals dissolved the legislature after the Supreme Constitutional Court, the country's highest tribunal, ruled that a third of its members had been elected illegally - a move that angered the Brotherhood and poisoned the atmosphere ahead of the military's handover of power to Morsi on June 30.

The dissolution of parliament came as a severe blow to the Brotherhood, which held nearly half its seats and has dreamt of political power for most of its 84 years. Long banned, the group's leaders and hundreds of its supporters were jailed in the 1950s and 1960s, and subjected to repeated crackdowns throughout most of Mubarak's 29 years in power.

Undermining authority

While Morsi made no mention of the high court ruling, taking aim only at the generals in revoking the military decree disbanding the legislature, some questioned whether he had the legal authority to overrule the high court.

The country's leading pro-reform campaigner, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, himself a long-time critic of the military, warned Morsi's action threatened to undermine the country's judicial authority.

The president's decree, he wrote on his Twitter account, "ushered Egypt into a constitutional coma and a conflict between the state's branches."

With the constitution in effect under Mubarak suspended and no new one in place because of disputes over who should write it, Morsi's decree drew attention to the disarray over the roles and powers of Egypt's governing institutions.

The military announced a "constitutional declaration" last month giving itself legislative powers in the absence of parliament and stripping Morsi of much of his presidential authority. The generals also took control over the process of drafting a new constitution, as well as control over the national budget.

Displeasure over dissolution

Morsi came to power after narrowly defeating Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, in the run-off last month. Declared the winner on June 24, he symbolically took the oath of office five days later at Tahrir Square, birthplace of the revolt that toppled Mubarak's regime on February 11, 2001.

He took the formal oath the next day before the Supreme Constitutional Court and again at Cairo University before hundreds of his supporters, including many of the dissolved legislature's lawmakers.

In his inauguration speeches Morsi hinted at his displeasure over parliament's dissolution and his own diminished powers, pointedly seating the speaker of the disbanded parliament, Saad el-Katatni of the Brotherhood, in the front row during the Cairo University ceremony.

Several hundred Morsi supporters gathered in Tahrir on Sunday night to celebrate his decision.

Morsi's move to reopen parliament came just hours after a meeting in Cairo with a senior US official, who delivered a message from President Barack Obama assuring him of America's commitment to a "new partnership" with Egypt.

US support

US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told reporters that Egyptians could rely on US support as they try to realise their aspirations.

"Egyptians know far better than we do that their aspirations are not yet fully realised, but they can count on America's partnership on the complicated road ahead," Burns said.

Obama also invited Morsi for talks in the White House in September, Egypt's state television said.

- AP


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Apologise for attack on Auditor G...

Apologise for attack on Auditor General, President Uhuru Kenyatta is told by Kisumu Senator Anyang Nyong'o. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Quit if you can't fight corruptio...

An MP has told President Uhuru Kenyatta to quit office if he cannot fight corruption. Read more...

Submitted by
Wilson Ochieng
Investigate Uhuru, Ruto for corru...

Investigate President Uhuru Kenyatta and DP William Ruto's offices over corruption, CORD leader Raila Odinga has said. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Its a 1 horse race to State House...

Its a 1 horse race to State House, DP William Ruto has mocked the CORD Coalition. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Enjoy your time left in power, We...

CORD Co Principal Moses Wetangu'la has told the Jubilee Coalition to enjoy its last few months in power before it is voted out in the 2017 elections. Read more...

Submitted by
Victor Tinto
Stop hiding in State House and sa...

ODM MP's have called on President Uhuru Kenyatta to release drought aid and to stop sitting on public funds. Read more...