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Egypt's top court rebukes president's decree

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At his swearing-in before the court in June, Morsi promised to respect all its decisions [Reuters]Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court has rebuked President Mohamed Morsi, asserting that he has no right to reconvene parliament after the court ordered it dissolved last month.

"All the rulings and decisions of the Supreme Constitutional Court are final and not subject to appeal ... and are binding for all state institutions," the court said in a statement on Monday after meeting in a special session.

On Sunday, Morsi issued a decree reconvening the parliament in defiance of the court and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, both of which want parliament dissolved.

In June, two days before the presidential election began, the court ruled that the legislature had been elected using an unconstitutional method, since political parties were allowed to run for seats reserved for individuals.

The court's rebuke came just hours after the speaker of the dissolved parliament, Saad el-Katatni, called for the chamber to convene on Tuesday.

Katatni and Morsi are both members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which won nearly half of the seats in the assembly through its Freedom and Justice Party. Analysts believe that the military council and state institutions still packed with old regime loyalists have attempted to constrain the Brotherhood in the months since their parliamentary gains.

Days after the court dissolved parliament, and just minutes after polls closed in the presidential election, the military issued a unilateral package of constitutional amendments stripping the president of his role as commander in chief, asserting autonomy over their budget and affairs, and assuming the power to legislate until a new parliament could be elected.

The amendments were seen as a pre-emptive attempt to limit Morsi's powers, should he win.

For the past month, the Brotherhood has argued that the court's decision was wrong and that the military, at the time the executive authority in the country, had no legal right to order parliament dissolved.


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