Politics World

The People’s Assembly meets in Egypt, a challenge to the military

CAIRO (Reuters) – The People’s Assembly, the lower house of Egyptian Parliament dissolved by the military court decision, met Tuesday, suggesting an increase in tension between the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (AFSC) and the newly elected president, Mohamed Morsi.

Minutes before the opening of the parliamentary session, the United States urged Egyptian political actors to dialogue to preserve the political transition.

The power and the army are engaged in a standoff in Egypt since the decision on Sunday by order of Mohamed Morsi restore the lower house dissolved by decision of the High Constitutional Court and by order of the AFSC who led the transition since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.

The decision of the army, taken on June 16 during the second round of the presidential election, had been interpreted as a sign of an attempt by the military to preserve their prerogatives.

“I invite you to meet in accordance with the decree issued by the president,” said President of the People’s Assembly, Saad al Katatni, coming as the new head of state from the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood. “I would like to confirm that the presidential decree does not violate the court order.”

On Monday the High Constitutional Court, convened an emergency , said it was not entitled to reverse the decree of the head of state but has indicated it would consider appeals challenging the constitutionality of the presidential decision.

TAKE-OVER

Tuesday, the army has taken no steps to prevent members from entering the chamber. According to one MP, about 70% of the 508 elected lower house were present, which roughly corresponds to the majority of which have the Islamists.

Many Liberal MPs boycotted the session.

“The national interest requires an immediate meeting between President, Parliament and representatives of the military council to find a political and legal solution to avoid an explosion,” written for his part on his Facebook page the reformist leader Mohamed ElBaradei, former patron of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Political analyst Hassan Nafaa, in this situation “dangerous”, said he hoped “a political solution through direct negotiations between the president and the AFSC.”

Mohamed Morsi’s decision to restore the People’s Assembly has created tensions between the Muslim Brotherhood, the big winners of the elections of the post-Mubarak and other political formations, including the Liberals, who denounce the Islamist grip on the able.

“We always respect the judiciary and we confirm that what we talk about today is that the enforcement mechanism of judicial decisions,” said Katatni.

Visiting Hanoi as part of an Asian tour, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called for dialogue in Egypt.

“We strongly call for dialogue and a concerted effort by all to tackle problems that are understandable but must be resolved to avoid any obstacles that could derail the ongoing transition,” she said during a press conference.

“The Egyptians should get what they fought and those for whom they voted, that an elected government,” she added.

Marine and Guy Pennetier Kerivel for the French service, edited by Gilles Trequesser

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