Egypt’s Administrative Court on Saturday upheld a ruling by the High Constitutional Court overturning a decree by President Mohammed Mursi to reinstate the Islamist-dominated People’s Assembly elected in November 2011.
Mursi had ordered the parliament to convene in defiance of a military decision to disband the house in line with a court ruling before the generals handed power to the president.
Mursi’s decree was applauded by supporters who believed the court’s decision to disband parliament was political, but it set off a fire storm of criticism from opponents who accused him of overstepping his authority.
According to the country’s interim constitution, drafted by the military generals who took charge after president Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow early last year, the military assumed the dissolved parliament’s powers.
Mursi’s decision was seen as an opening shot in a power struggle between Egypt’s first civilian leader and the Mubarak-appointed generals who wanted to retain broad powers even after they transferred control on June 30.
“The battle for power centered on the judiciary,” read the headline of independent daily al-Watan.
The origins of the battle for parliament lay in a constitutional declaration issued by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which ruled Egypt during its transition after president Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year.