Egyptian President Orders Dissolved Parliament Back To Work
July 08, 2012
Egypt's President Muhammad Morsi has ordered the Islamist-dominated parliament to reconvene, a month after it was dissolved by the military.
The official MENA news agency quoted Morsi, whose Muslim Brotherhood won the most parliamentary seats, as saying the chamber should reconvene until a new election could be held.
Morsi also called for new parliamentary elections to be held within 60 days of the adoption of a new constitution, which is not expected before late this year.
Following Morsi's decree, Egypt's military council gathered for an emergency meeting to discuss a presidential it.
Reports say the meeting is headed by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, who leads the council that governed Egypt after longtime leader Hosni Mubarak's overthrow last year.
The council had dissolved the Islamist-led parliament following a ruling by Egypt's highest court that a third of the parliament's members were illegally elected.
Earlier on July 8, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns met in Cairo with Morsi.
"Tens of millions of Egyptians will be looking to President Morsi and the cabinet he forms to take needed steps to advance national unity and build an inclusive government that embraces all of Egypt's faiths and respects the rights of women and secular members of society," Burns said afterward. "So will the international community."
The United States has yet to comment on the decision to reconvene the parliament.
Meanwhile, AFP news agency quoted a U.S. official as saying that President Barack Obama will meet Morsi at the UN General Assembly in New York in September.
Taking On The Generals
Morsi’s surprise move, however, could potentially have serious consequences.
Some analysts say it will almost certainly lead to a clash with Egypt's powerful generals.
After dissolving the parliament, the military council announced a "constitutional declaration" on June 16 that gave it legislative powers in the absence of parliament and stripped Morsi of much of his presidential authority.
It also gave the generals control over the process of drafting a new constitution and immunity from any civilian oversight.
Morsi came to power after narrowly defeating Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, in a June 16-17 runoff.
He was declared the winner on June 24.
Morsi 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 later during a speech at Cairo University before hundreds of his supporters, including many of the dissolved legislature's lawmakers.
Morsi's defiance of a ruling by the country's highest court and the country’s military could backfire, leading to charges that he has no respect for the judiciary.
With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters
Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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