Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] issued a declaration [text] on Sunday that gives the president complete legislative and executive power, abolishing a June declaration that reserved power for the military [JURIST report]. The declaration grants Morsi the power to establish public policy and sign international treaties [El Ahram report]. The declaration also allows Morsi to create a new legislature to draft a constitution if the current legislature fails to do so:
If the Constituent Assembly [tasked with drafting a new constitution] is prevented from doing its duties, the president can draw up a new assembly representing the full spectrum of Egyptian society mandated with drafting a new national charter within three months of the assembly's formation. The new draft constitution is to be put before a nationwide referendum within 30 days after it is written. Parliamentary elections are to be held within two months of the public's approval of the draft constitution.In addition to granting himself more extensive powers, Morsi also made several other sweeping decisions on Sunday, including retiring several leaders of the Egyptian military and appointing a new vice president [El Ahram report].
Last month Morsi ordered the release [JURIST report] of 572 people convicted in tribunals by the Egyptian military. Earlier in July, a few days after he was sworn in, Morsi issued a decree [JURIST reports] calling the dissolved Egyptian parliament back into session, despite a previous ruling by the country's Supreme Constitutional Court [official website] dissolving it due to its finding that one-third of its members were elected illegally [JURIST report]. The court suspended Morsi's decree two days later, after which Morsi vowed that he would respect the ruling [JURIST reports]. A court struck down [JURIST report] a government decree in June that restored broad arrest powers to Egyptian military officials. Days before its dissolution, the Egyptian parliament elected a new constitutional council after lawmakers finally reached an agreement [JURIST reports] on the political composition of the council. In April the country's Administrative Court effectively suspended [JURIST report] the work of the 100-member council responsible for drafting the country's new constitution after ruling in favor of a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the formation of the panel.