[JURIST] Newly elected Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi [BBC profile] on Wednesday issued a statement saying he will respect the ruling of an Egyptian court suspending his decree to reconvene the parliament. Morsi said his order was not intended to challenge the authority of the court or the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) [NYT backgrounder], but rather to avoid a “power vacuum in terms of legislation” [MENA report]. 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 SCAF, acting as the executive at the time. The Parliament convened briefly on Tuesday just before the court issued its ruling [JURIST reports] suspending the president’s decree.
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.