Top News: Egypt People’s Assembly Refers Own Fate Back to the Judiciary


Within just minutes of starting, Egypt’s People’s Assembly speaker Saad El-Katatni ended the first session of the reinstated legislative body. The parliament session opened Tuesday at 10:20am, with El-Katatni arguing that President Mohamed Morsi had not violated the HCC’s decision by reinstating parliament. El-Katatni declared he will refer the HCC decision to the Appeal Court, saying parliament is aware of both its rights and responsibilities.


Prime Minister to be named soon: Presidential spokesman

[Ahram Online, 7/10/2012] Acting spokesman for the presidential office, Yasser Ali, revealed on Tuesday that President Morsi will appoint a prime minister "soon," in his first step in forming a cabinet. On Monday the spokesman had said the decision would be made within 48 hours and, specifically, before Morsi travels to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday. Prime Minister Kamal El-Ganzouri, who was appointed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) in December 2011, is still heading the caretaker government until Morsi appoints his cabinet. President Morsi was sworn in on 30 June. Eyes are closely watching the newly-inaugurated president’s choice, which is creating strong reactions, especially after his Sunday decree to reinstate parliament.

SCAF: The state will respect the Constitutional Declaration

[Egypt Independent, 7/9/2012] “The state will respect all aspects of the Constitutional Declaration,” stated the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on Monday in reaction to President Mohamed Morsy’s decree ordering that the People’s Assembly be reinstated. In its statement, the SCAF stressed the necessity of respecting the rule of law, the constitution and governmental institutions to maintain the integrity of the Egyptian state and show respect to the Egyptian people. The supplement to the Constitutional Declaration issued by the SCAF on 17 June was necessary in order to address the political state of the nation, and was meant to define the specific responsibilities of the newly-elected president and the SCAF until a new constitution would be drafted and approved, the statement continued. The military council denied rumors of striking deals with various political parties and called such accusations dangerous for the country.

Egypt’s parliament reconvenes as new crisis looms between Mursi and judiciary

[Reuters, 7/10/2012] Egypt’s Islamist-led parliament reconvened on Tuesday in an open challenge to the generals who dissolved the assembly last month, stirring up tensions with the military just 10 days into Mohamed Mursi’s presidency. "I invited you to convene in accordance with the decree issued by the president," said Katatni, who like Mursi hails from the Brotherhood. "I would like to confirm that the presidential decree does not violate the court order." The dispute is part of a broader power struggle which could take years to play out. It pits the Brotherhood, which was repressed by Mubarak and his predecessors, against the generals seeking to keep their privileges and status and a wider establishment still filled with Mubarak-era officials. The Brotherhood says it is seeking a way to comply with the court’s ruling that would not require parliament to be dissolved. After his short address to parliament, Katatni said lawmakers would discuss how to implement the court’s ruling. "We always respect the judiciary and we confirm that what we are discussing today is the mechanism to implement these court rulings," he said.

People’s Assembly refers dissolution verdict to committee

[Egypt Independent, 7/10/2012] The People’s Assembly Legislative and Constitutional Affairs Committee was referred the ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court, which resulted in Parliament’s dissolution, on Tuesday. Speaker Saad al-Katatny chaired a general meeting that discussed means of enforcing the verdict. He said the decision by President Mohamed Morsy to reinstate the assembly did not defy the court’s ruling, but rather reversed the consequent decision by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to disband the assembly. "In all of its activities, the state is bound by laws. The People’s Assembly is fully cognizant of its competences, and respects the judiciary," Katatny stressed. He added that he had consulted the legislative committee to enforce the verdict and its relevant measures, but noted that Article 40 of the Constitutional Declaration, which has governed the country since March 2011, stipulates that the Court of Cassation has jurisdiction over the validity of parliament memberships. "The session only discussed procedural issues related to the implementation of the Supreme Constitutional Court’s verdict”, he pointed out.

Egypt People’s Assembly refers own fate back to the Judiciary

[Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Online, 7/10/2012]  Within just minutes of starting, Egypt’s People’s Assembly speaker Saad El-Katatni ended the first session of the reinstated legislative body. The parliament session opened Tuesday at 10:20am, with El-Katatni arguing that President Mohamed Morsi had not violated the HCC’s decision by reinstating parliament. El-Katatni declared he will refer the HCC decision to the Appeal Court, saying parliament is aware of both its rights and responsibilities. The decision by the reinstated Islamist-dominated People’s Assembly to refer its fate to the courts is seen as a possible compromise between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Military Council, thus staving off what looked to be a serious constitutional and political crisis. Leftist and liberal party MP’s, including the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Tagammu Party, Wafd Party and Free Egyptians, boycotted the parliament session on Tuesday. The prestigious Judge’s Club threatened on Monday to bring legal action against Morsi for "defying court orders." Clashes erupted outside of the People’s Assembly (lower house) as MPs deliberated for a total of 12 minutes.

 Parliament speaker closes session in minutes, sends HCC ruling to Appeal Court

[Ahram Online, 7/10/2012] Parliament Speaker Saad El-Katatni closes first session of the reinstated People’s Assembly within minutes, deciding to send the High Constitutional Court’s ruling on the legality of the members of parliament to the Appeal Court. Sessions won’t resume until the Appeal Court interprets Article 40 of the March 2011 Constitutional Declaration in relation to the standing of members of the lower house of parliament. Egypt’s High Constitutional Court (HCC) had ruled in mid-June that the elections law governing the last parliamentary elections was unconstitutional. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces dissolved parliament, but one of the first political moves by the newly-inaugurated President Morsi was to reinstate parliament on Sunday.


Egypt’s Constitutional Court deliberates future of People’s Assembly

[Ahram Online, 7/10/2012] The High Constitutional Court (HCC) adjourned the session in the case against the 8 July presidential decree reinstating the People’s Assembly for deliberation after judges heard both the defense and the plaintiffs. The SCAF declared in a statement on Monday that it never resorted to taking "exceptional" measures during its interim tenure in power. It went on to assert that its dissolution of the People’s Assembly last month had been based on an HCC ruling that the assembly was unconstitutional.

Egypt Administrative Court postpones all cases vs reinstatement of People’s Assembly to 17 July

[Ahram Online, 7/10/2012] Egypt’s administrative court on Tuesday postponed tens of lawsuits filed against President Mohamed Morsi’s Sunday presidential decree which reinstated the dissolved People’s Assembly to 17 July.

Military commander says deaths were not reported during battle of the camel

[Egypt Independent, 7/10/2012] Former commander of the Central Military Zone, Hassan al-Roweiny, has given his account in the trial of 24 former regime officials accused of orchestrating a bloody attack on pro-democracy protesters in February 2011. Testifying before the Cairo Criminal Court on Tuesday, Roweiny said he had not received any reports of deaths or firearms seizures in Tahrir Square on 2 and 3 February, when men riding camels and horses attacked protests against toppled President Hosni Mubarak. The case came to be known throughout the media as the Battle of the Camel. Defendants in the case include former People’s Assembly Speaker Ahmed Fathi Sorour and former Shura Council speaker Safwat al-Sherif. In his testimony, Roweiny said that the only reports he had received were of injuries, not deaths. He explained that protesters on both sides only exchanged stones and Molotov cocktails.


Al-Azhar, Salafis clash over Article 2

[Egypt Independent, 7/10/2012] Egypt’s new constitution should preserve the wording of Article 2 of the 1971 Constitution stipulating that the “principles” of Islamic law are the main source of legislation, said the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar on Tuesday, sparking condemnation from Salafi politicians. At a press conference at his office, Ahmed al-Tayyeb said Al-Azhar’s decisive and final stance is to consider Article2 “untouchable” as it represents “the doctrine and the identity of the nation.” “We should not allow differences on lexical issues to open the door for sedition”, he said. As the Constituent Assembly discusses proposed amendments to the article, conservative Islamist groups are adamant that the new constitution should cite Sharia, rather than its principles, as the main source of legislation. Al-Azhar’s stance has triggered criticism by Islamists, most notably Salafi groups. The head of the Salafi Asala Party, Adel Afify, considered voting a “yes” vote for the new constitution as a violation of Islam if Article 2 stipulated that only the principles of Sharia would be the main source of legislation.


Shura Council report cites corruption as main cause of growing debt

[Daily News Egypt, 7/10/2012] The Shura Council’s Economic and Financial Affairs Committee is citing widespread corruption within the state as the main reason for worsening public debt in a report that has created a firestorm since it was released. The report highlighted 65,000 instances of corruption in a single year as evidence of massive waste, with government agencies routinely exaggerating operating costs. Contradictions in the data on public debt provided by the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank, and the Central Auditing Organization (CAO), and inconsistent accounting practices, were indicated in the report. The CAO reported that public debt stood at EGP 1.2 trillion by the end of June, 2011, compared to EGP 1.07 trillion in the previous year. Internal debt last year stood at EGP 888.7 billion in 2011. After subtracting EGP 182.4 billion in government deposits, public debt in 2011 was EGP 1.044 trillion. The Ministry of Finance estimated public debt to be at EGP 801.1billion while the Central Bank estimated EGP 1.13 trillion at the end of December 2011. The report warned that public debt would soon surpass safe limits according to international standards predicted that Egypt would borrow $11billion in the next two years, with the growth rate of government debt went from 10.4% before the revolution to 17.5% after.

EBDA seeks to raise EGP 11m to finance Kafa’a project

[Daily News Egypt, 7/10/2012] Supporting the Egyptian economy, attracting investment, building human capital… These are the goals of the Egyptian Business Development Association (EBDA) and its professional training programme, according to Ahmed Seda, Director of Programmes for the Association. Seda said that Egyptian workers are not properly trained and thus not competitive with workers in other parts of the world. As such, EBDA started the “Kafa’a” (meaning “capability” in Arabic) project to help solve the problem. He added that there are 62 government centres for training in the field of construction, but that the market is unable to absorb all the workers. The programme strives to increase the competence of professionals in order to raise Egypt’s competitiveness. The Kafa’a programme aims to train 700 youth in the field of building and construction. EBDA will coordinate with companies in order to determine the areas in which they are in need of trained professionals and will provide training using modern curriculum.


Brotherhood calls for million-man march to back Morsi’s decree

[Ahram Online, 7/10/2012] The Muslim Brotherhood called a Tuesday million-march on the Twitter account of the group’s official website Ikhwanweb, to support President Mohamed Morsi’s Sunday decree that reinstated the People’s Assembly, the lower house of Egypt’s parliament. The Brotherhood’s Secretary-General Mahmoud Hussein told Al-Ahram’s Arabic language news website that the aim of the march is not to support Morsi per se but rather his decisions that Hussein says have "fulfilled the public demands to regain the parliament, an achieved goal of the revolution." "The mass protest was called for by the Brotherhood in order to join the masses, who were happy at the news of the restoration of the People’s Assembly," Hussein added. The venue of the protest has yet to be decided.


US: Deputy secretary of state’s meeting with Morsy ‘very constructive’

[Egypt Independent, 7/10/2012] Patrick Ventrell, director of the press office the US State Department, described the meeting between Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and President Mohamed Morsy as “very constructive,” at a press conference Monday. During the daily press conference for the State Department, Ventrell said, "This is the first time that we have a senior American official meeting with the newly inaugurated President of Egypt, the first democratically elected civilian leader in Egypt’s history." Asked about US concerns over the return of Egypt’s parliament, Ventrell said: "Developments are unfolding quickly. We’re monitoring them closely and we’re in touch with Egypt’s leaders. These issues are for Egyptians to decide in a manner that respects democratic principles and the transition process, and is transparent and protects the rights of all Egyptians."

Clinton urges dialogue in Egypt to safeguard transition

[Shorouk (Arabic), Ahram Online, 7/10/2012] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Tuesday for all sides in Egypt to work together to safeguard the political transition after newly elected President Mohamed Mursi defied the army by reversing its decision to dissolve parliament."We strongly urge dialogue and concerted effort on the part of all to try to deal with the problems that are understandable but have to be resolved in order to avoid any kind of difficulties that could derail the transition that is going on," Clinton told a news conference. Egypt’s parliament could reconvene on Tuesday after the president’s decision. The army defended its dissolution of the assembly, saying it was confident "all state institutions" would respect the constitution and the law. Clinton said Egypt had a lot of work to do to keep the transition on course. Democracy, she said, was not just about elections. "It is about creating a vibrant, inclusive political dialogue, listening to civil (society), having good relations between civilian officials and military officials, where each is working to serve the interests of the citizens," she said.

Photo Credit: Reuters

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