Egypt’s Administrative Court Postpones Decision on Parliamentary Reinstatement
In response to President Morsi’s call over the weekend to reconvene Egypt’s dissolved parliament, the People’s Assembly defied the Supreme Constitutional Court by holding a brief session Tuesday. The parliamentary session lasted just long enough for its speaker, Saad el-Katatni, to refer the court’s decision to the Appeal Court. However, Egypt’s administrative court quickly postponed a number of lawsuits filed against Morsi’s presidential decree to reinstated the dissolved People’s Assembly to 17 July.
The People’s Assembly will not resume its sessions until the Appeals Court gives its verdict on the standing of members of the lower and upper houses of parliament. Morsi insisted that his decision was not made in defiance of the court, but was rather a reversal of the executive decision made by the SCAF in the absence of an elected president. Many observers see Morsi’s move as a part of a growing power struggle between the new president and the military council. Nevertheless, some speculate that the military’s acquiescence to the parliament’s decision points to a likely comprimise between the SCAF and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Eric Trager of the Washington Institute wrote that outside observers and Egyptian policymakers alike are having difficulty interpreting these recent events. Trager argued, “that’s due, in part, to the inherent legal ambiguity of Morsi’s action,” adding, “as a result, it is not clear whether Morsi’s call to reinstate parliament constitutes a legitimate exercise of executive authority, or an illegal override of the constitutional court’s ruling that led to parliament’s initial dissolution.” Moreover, according to Trager, Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood colleges seem surprised by the decision, indicating that, not only are they unprepared for a struggle with military leaders, but also assumptions of a deal between the two may be premature.