Egypt’s Constitutional Court: Decision to Dissolve Parliament “Binding”
Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court announced Monday that its ruling to dissolve parliament is “binding” in response to President Morsi’s order to reconvene the legislative body. The president’s declaration Sunday unexpectedly challenged the authority of both the country’s powerful generals and its highest judicial body. However, the court said in a statement that its decisions “are final and not subject to appeal, and that its provisions in cases of constitutional interpretation and decisions are binding on all state authorities.”
Meanwhile, the speaker of the dissolved parliament said it would follow the presidents orders and reconvene the chamber. Saad al Katatni said the lower house would sit from noon on Tuesday. Yet, not all lawmakers are in agreement over the issue. Secular MP, Iman Gad, argued, “How can we go and attend in violation of a court ruling? There must be respect for the law and for state institutions.”
The events are the latest in a struggle to define the role of power-holders in Egypt, where some had questioned Morsi’s real influence. “No one is going to dismiss Morsi as a figurehead now . . . it’s certainly an aggressive first move,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. Others are concerned for what the struggle may portend for the future. “What happens if the Supreme Administrative Court decides that the military is the executive authority and they had the right to do this?” said Michael Hanna, an Egypt expert and fellow at the Century Foundation. “This has the makings of a real constitutional crisis.” According to Edmund Blair and Patrick Werr of Reuters, the immediate impact may be felt most by the economy, where Egypt’s stock market reacted to the news by falling more than 5 percent.