x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Morsi orders Egypt's parliament to return

New president challenges authority of military by ordering to reconvene parliament until a new one is elected.

CAIRO // Egypt's newly elected president Mohammed Morsi yesterday issued an order to reconvene parliament until a new one is elected.

The move was viewed as a bold display of executive power by the new president, at once appeasing his Islamist base and giving the image of a president willing to confront the military.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) dissolved parliament last month after the country's highest court declared that a third of MPs had been elected unconstitutionally. Scaf gave iself legislative powers and stripped Mr Morsi of much of his presidential authority.

Scaf held an emergency meeting yesterday to discuss Mr Morsi's order. The dissolution of parliament was a major reversal of the Muslim Brotherhood's political gains after the uprising that forced Hosni Mubarak to resign. Its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, controlled nearly half the seats.

Mr Morsi, formerly the chairman of the party, resigned from the Brotherhood upon assuming the presidency but is still seen as closely allied with the group. It was unclear yesterday whether the reconvening of parliament was a symbolic gesture or if the body would be able to continue passing legislation in light of the earlier ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court.

In Mr Morsi's statement yesterday, he said the parliament should continue with its legislative work until a new parliament is elected. Elections for parliament would be held 60 days after the ratification of a new constitution.

However, the writing of a new constitution has yet to begin and is not expected until later this year.


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