Only 48 hours before the Administrative Court session to be held tomorrow [July 17] to review the case challenging the formation of the Constituent Assembly, President Mohammed Morsi ratified a law that regulates the election process for Constituent Assembly members. The law had previously been issued by the People’s Assembly (the Egyptian parliament), but was later annulled by Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court. Morsi’s move will render the Constituent Assembly immune to the decisions taken by the Administrative Court. In other words, the Supreme Constitutional Court will be the only authority able to control the implementation of the law regulating the composition of the Constituent Assembly.
Meanwhile, several members from the Shura Council, the Egyptian parliament's upper house, submitted their resignation from the Constituent Assembly. Leading this group are the Shura Council majority leader from the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), and FJP MP Taher Abdel Mohsen. Both of these men were prominent members in the Constituent Assembly. MP Abed al-Salam Ragheb and MP Hassan Omar from the al-Nour Party, who are both provisional members, also resigned.
In a statement issued yesterday [July 15], these MPs pointed out that they were resigning to prevent the Administrative Court from reviewing the appeal regarding the annulment of the Constituent Assembly. They added that, by resigning, they hoped to pressure the Supreme Constitutional Court into pronouncing a favorable verdict in the case filed earlier related to the Constituent Assembly members who simultaneously held posts in the National Assembly. The statement also mentioned that this step annuls the parliamentary status of any member who is also in the Constituent Assembly, thus protecting the latter from dissolution.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has started to exercise its legislative powers as per the Complementary Constitutional Declaration. The SCAF issued five laws, all of which were approved by Morsi. The new laws related to a raise in governmental and military salaries, allowing for bonuses to government officials, the collection of additional revenue from imports to the Port Said Public Free Zone and the regulation of universities.
Chargé d’affaires and acting presidential spokesman, Dr. Yasser Ali, stated that the president approved the five laws issued by the SCAF, which now holds legislative power.
Morsi also issued a statement on July 15 at the 19th African Union Summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In his statement, Morsi confirmed that Egypt was keen on maintaining good relations with the rest of Africa. He also stressed the importance of economic cooperation, security and stability among African states.