News24

Egypt court - can't rule on parliament

2012-07-19 22:19

Cairo - Egypt's administrative court said on Thursday it had no jurisdiction to rule on two cases to determine the fate of the dissolved parliament, leaving its future stuck in a legal labyrinth.

Judge Abdel Salam al-Naggar, head of Cairo's administrative court, referred to the Supreme Constitutional Court an appeal against a presidential decree to reinstate the dissolved parliament.

No reason was given for the decision.

It was also examining a constitutional declaration issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces - which ruled Egypt after Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year - granting the military sweeping powers including legislative control.

Parliament has been at the centre of a power struggle between the military and newly elected Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, who was sworn in last month.

The stand-off is being played out in the courts amid a dizzying array of legal rulings and appeals that has left parliament stuck in limbo.

Earlier this month, Morsi ordered parliament to convene, in defiance of a military decision to disband the house in line with a ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court.

But on 11 July, the top court annulled the decree, a ruling Morsi vowed to respect.

Power struggle

Morsi's decree was applauded by supporters who believed the court's decision to disband parliament was political, but it set off a fire storm of criticism from opponents who accused him of overstepping his authority.

According to the country's interim constitution, drafted by the generals, the military assumed the dissolved parliament's powers.

Morsi's decision was seen as an opening shot in a power struggle between Egypt's first civilian leader and the Mubarak-appointed generals who wanted to retain broad powers even after they transferred control on June 30.

The SCAF consists of generals appointed by Mubarak, as was the head of the constitutional court which annulled parliament because it found that certain articles of the law governing its election invalid.

Critics said the decision was politically motivated.

In a separate case, the administrative court is also looking into the validity of a constituent assembly - whose members were elected by the dissolved parliament - that is due to draft the country's new constitution.