10 Jul 2012

Mursi orders Egyptian parliament to reconvene

5:45 am on 10 July 2012

Military and judicial authorities in Egypt held emergency talks on Monday after newly-elected President Mohammed Mursi ordered parliament to reconvene, a month after it was dissolved.

Mr Mursi, whose Muslim Brotherhood won most seats, said the chamber should reconvene until a new election is held, the BBC reports.

The Supreme Constitutional Court declared on 14 June this year that the lower house of parliament was unconstitutional because party members had contested seats reserved for independents and the military council enforced the ruling two days later.

The military enforced the court order and held talks on Mr Mursi's decree but did not decide on any action, officials said. The council, known as the Scaf, said it would hold another urgent meeting.

The Scaf took over the reins of power last year, after the revolution that ended President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

The army move was initially welcomed by many of the anti-government protesters, but its presence became increasingly unpopular as critics accused its leaders of wanting to hold on to power.

Muslim Brotherhood officials said parliament could reconvene as early as Monday.

The BBC reports MPs would first have to get past police and military guards, who are keeping them out of parliament.

Mr Mursi won the country's first free presidential election in June and army chiefs formally handed over power on the 30th. But before his inauguration, the military had granted itself sweeping powers.

The commanders' constitutional declaration stripped the president of any authority over the military, gave military chiefs legislative powers, and ordered that the military would install a panel to write a new constitution.

However, in his presidential decree, Mr Mursi said the recalled parliament would write the new constitution.

A new election would be held 60 days after the constitution had been agreed by referendum, the decree said.

The Muslim Brotherhood has consistently opposed the decision to dissolve parliament.