Egypt’s highest court has accused President Mohamed Morsi of staging an “unprecedented attack” on the judiciary by granting himself extensive new powers, including a ban on revoking presidential decisions and a prohibition against dissolving the legislative assembly.
That assembly is currently writing Egypt’s new constitution.
Pro-Morsi demonstrators tried to disrupt the Supreme Judicial Council’s meeting while others protested the president’s decree with, among other acts, attacks on the offices of Morsi’s Islamist FJP party.
The president claimed he acted to protect the revolution.
In a statement, the Supreme Judicial Council called his move “an unprecedented attack on the independence of the judiciary and its rulings”, and called on him to reverse it.
Judges and prosecutors in Egypt’s second city Alexandria have gone on strike in protest, saying they will not return to work until the decree is reversed.
There had been reports that the council was about to disband the constituent assembly for a second time … a move that could seriously derail the transition to democracy and further delay new parliamentary elections.
This, in turn, could deter Egypt’s political leaders from taking tough decisions while they wait for the vote.