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Egypt: Mohamed Morsi Orders Return of Parliament

Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, issued an order, on Sunday, for the country’s recently-elected Parliament to reconvene—a move that flies in the face of a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court to dissolve the body.

Last month, the Court ruled that the law under which Egypt’s first democratically-elected legislature had been chosen was partially unconstitutional. The Muslim Brotherhood, a central movement behind the Tahrir Square revolution and President Morsi’s former Party, held the majority in that Parliament.

The Parliament’s speaker said it would meet within “hours” of the decree. All parties to the controversial ruling, including the Court and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, held emergency meetings to discuss what is seen as a bold step by Morsi’s 10-day-old presidency to obtain authority over the country’s future.

The decree comes with its own limitations. Even if the current Parliament is reconvened, it can only serve until a new constitution is completed; new parliamentary elections are to follow within 60 days of signage. Nathan J. Brown, political science professor at George Washington University, suggests this section of the order avoids a full confrontation with the Supreme Court by acknowledging its wish for a new legislature.

Still, those watching the development unfold agree it is a major one. Prominent human rights lawyer Gamal Eid says the president “has been waiting to make a decision to prove he is president of a republic,” and notes that “the decree could create a political crisis.”

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