[JURIST] The Supreme Constitutional Court [official website] of Egypt on Tuesday suspended the decree of President Mohammed Morsi calling the dissolved Egyptian parliament back into session. The decision of the court will prevent the decree from taking effect [Ahram Online report] until the court can consider its legality. Morsi issued the decree on Sunday despite a ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court in June finding that one-third of the parliament was elected illegally [JURIST reports]. In response to the decree, the Supreme Constitutional Court issued a televised statement on Monday declaring that its decision on the Parliament was final and not subject to appeal. Although the court said in its decision that the entire body was invalid, the actual dissolution of parliament was carried out by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) [NYT backgrounder], acting as the executive at the time. Morsi issued a statement [Ahram Online report] Tuesday saying that the restoration of Parliament was legal and within his power as the new executive.
Despite the success of a peaceful presidential election, Egypt has faced continued political turmoil since the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak last year. Last week, Morsi issued a decree appointing a fact-finding committee to investigate the deaths of protesters [JURIST report] in last year’s demonstrations. A court in June struck down [JURIST report] a government decree that restored broad arrest powers to Egyptian military officials. Last week, a former candidate in Egypt’s presidential election and several non-government organizations filed a lawsuit challenging Egypt’s interim constitution [JURIST report], alleging it gives the Egyptian military unlimited power. Days before it’s dissolution, the Egyptian parliament elected a new constitutional council after lawmakers finally reached an agreement [JURIST reports] on the political composition of the council. Egypt’s Supreme Administrative Court in April 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.