Top Egypt Court Freezes Morsi’s Decree, Deepens Conflict

July 10, 2012  

Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court froze on Tuesday a presidential decree reinstating the Islamist-led parliament, hours after the lower house convened in defiance of the judiciary and military.

“The court ordered the freeze of the president’s decree,” AFP quoted a judicial source as having said, adding that it “ordered that its previous ruling be implemented.”

The court’s decision is expected to heighten a crisis that has raged since President Mohammed Morsi issued the decree Sunday.

Last month, the court ruled that certain articles in the law governing parliamentary elections were invalid, annulling the People’s Assembly.

The powerful Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which ruled after Hosni Mubarak was ousted in last year’s popular uprising, then dissolved the house.

However, on Sunday Morsi ordered the lower house to reconvene, highlighting the power struggle between the president, the top court and the SCAF.

Taking its cue from Morsi the People’s Assembly convened on Tuesday. AFP quoted speaker Saad al-Katatni as having said, “I want to stress, we are not contradicting the ruling, but looking at a mechanism for the implementation of the ruling of the respected court. There is no other agenda today.”

Lawyers representing Morsi criticized the court’s latest decision, saying the ruling was a political move that would further complicate the crisis.

“This ruling is null and void,” lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsud was quoted by AFP as having told reporters. Another member of the team, Mamduh Ismail, called it a “political decision.”

On Monday, the SCAF reminded Morsi of its own powerful position in the country, when it issued a statement saying it expects all state institutions to respect the constitution – a barely-disguised warning to the newly-elected Muslim Brotherhood member.

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