Egyptian political confrontation prompts questions over who's running things
In Egypt, the government is in the midst of a long process to transform itself from a dictatorship to a representative democracy. But the process has been tumultuous, with the latest hurdle being a decision by the new president to call back into session a parliament that the military-backed courts dissolved.
Egypt's political transition is hitting a turbulent and perilous stage.
Sunday, newly elected President Mohamed Morsi ordered the elected Parliament to return to the capital — in direct defiance of a court order dissolving the democratically-elected body. He said they would serve only until a new constitution is written and approved. Elections are to be held within 60 days of that happening.
But ever since Morsi's announcement, the country has held its breath while waiting to see how the country's military council would react. So far, they haven't. But the country's Supreme Constitutional Court weighed in on Monday. They refused to reconsider their ruling and said the decision was final and unappealable.
That has some speculating the country is angling toward a constitutional crisis.
"The development seemed to deepen the prospects for a confrontation between Mr. Morsi and his Islamist supporters on the one hand, and the military council and the courts on the other," The New York Times wrote.
According to the BBC, the Speaker of the House announced that the legislative body would reconvene on Tuesday. Already some members of Parliament had made their way back and have been allowed into the building.
A number of the army guards that had been posted at the building had returned to their barracks and others said they wouldn't stop the Parliament from convening, the Times reported.
But according to the BBC, even if members of Parliament do convene, any legislation they pass would face a high likelihood of being deemed invalid by the courts.
And opponents of Morsi, a member of the Islamic Brotherhood like the majority in Parliament, criticized him for setting a dangerous precedent, whereby the president presents himself as above the controls imposed by the courts.
"Presidential candidate Hamdin Sabbahi was quoted as saying it was a 'waste of legal authority' while another, Abdul Moneim Aboul Fotouh, was said to have denounced his move as unconstitutional," the BBC reported. "Liberal MP Mohammed Abu Hamed urged Scaf to challenge what he called 'this constitutional coup.' "
All this has left many wondering just who is really wielding power in the country and when — and if — the country will really complete it's democratic transition.
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