Egyptian Court Reaffirms Dissolution Of Parliament
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Egypt's new president is directly challenging the authority of the military. In a surprise move, President Mohammed Morsi has called on parliament to reconvene. That's a big deal because the Supreme Military Council dissolved the legislature just before Morsi was elected. Just prior to his election, Morsi was the head of the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing, and his move to reconvene the legislative body is part of the tug-of-war for power in the new Egypt. Here's Kimberly Adams in Cairo.
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KIMBERLY ADAMS, BYLINE: At a graduation ceremony for one of Egypt's military academies today, families waved and cheered as sharply dressed cadets marched around a courtyard and demonstrated their martial arts skills. Egypt's new president, Mohammed Morsi, sat right next to the head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi. The event, broadcast live on Egyptian state TV, showed them interacting cordially and gave no hint of the political battle going on.
The military leaders dissolved parliament in mid-June based on a ruling by Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court, which said one-third of the parliament was elected unlawfully. The legislature was dominated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. The judges of the Constitutional Court were all appointed during the regime of ousted President Hosni Mubarak when the Brotherhood was banned. After the court ruling, the Supreme Military Council took some legislative powers for itself, a move viewed by many analysts as a soft coup.
The military also posted guards at the entrance to parliament to block members from entering. So Morsi became president, but without the Islamist-run parliament to back him up, it looked like his authority would be limited. Until this.
YASSER ALI: (Foreign language spoken)
ADAMS: That's Morsi's spokesman Yasser Ali reading out a presidential decree overturning the decision to dissolve parliament. The decree says parliament should go back to work until there's a new constitution and calls for new parliamentary elections within 60 days after that. This morning, some members of parliament showed up at to the People's Assembly headquarters just to make sure they could actually get in. They did. But later in the day, both the Constitutional Court and the Military Council issued statements reaffirming the decision to dissolve the legislature.
The situation is not likely to become clear until midmorning tomorrow when parliament is scheduled to convene. For NPR News, I'm Kimberly Adams in Cairo.
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