CAIRO — Egypt’s new president yesterday ordered a parliament dominated by his Islamist party to reconvene, challenging the authority of the generals who had dissolved the assembly in line with a court order.
President Mohamed Mursi’s decree appeared to catch off guard the generals who handed power to him on June 30. State media said the army’s supreme council held an emergency meeting and a council member, declining to be named, told Reuters the generals had not been given prior warning.
The military had been running Egypt since Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year. But, shortly before the handover to the elected president, the army put some curbs on the presidency and gave itself legislative powers.
The president’s decision hands those powers back to a parliament that was led by his allies in the Muslim Brotherhood.
After a little more than a week in office, Mursi’s move highlights the power struggle likely to define his term, pitting long repressed Islamists against generals used to calling the shots and an establishment full of Mubarak-era officials.
It also threatens a fresh legal wrangle over whether Mursi can overrule a decision by the Supreme Constitutional Court to dissolve parliament, creating more uncertainty at a time when the economy is creaking after 17 months of political turmoil.
“President Mohamed Mursi ordered the reconvening of the elected parliament to hold sessions,” according to a presidential statement read out by Mursi’s aide Yasser Ali.
Saad Husseini, a senior member of the Brotherhood, said he did not believe the military would challenge Mursi’s decree. (Reuters)