Egypt par reconvenes in open challenge to military

Cairo: Egypt`s dissolved parliament reconvened today in open defiance of the constitutional court and the military, plunging the country into a tense stand-off in what appears to be an intensifying power struggle.

While the parliamentary met for the first time since it was dissolved by the constitutional court, the speaker resisted from sending out warring signals and said legislators were not trying to contradict the judiciary. The lawmakers assembled for a session in line with a presidential decree that upturned a court order dissolving the house, in spite of cautious warnings from both the constitutional court as well as the military council.

However, MPs from several liberal and leftists political parties `boycotted` the session, with some describing President Mohamed Mursi`s move as a "constitutional coup". Speaker Saad al-Katatni said, he desired to clearly stress that the aim of the restored house was not to challenge the Supreme Constitutional Court as the house "respects the law and judicial rulings".

"We are not contradicting the ruling, but looking at a mechanism for the implementation of the ruling of the respected court," he said in a brief statement, aired live on television. Last month, the constitutional court had ruled that election to one third of the seats of the parliament was invalid and hence the make of the entire house. Muslim Brotherhood`s Freedom and Justice party had emerged victorious in the election, winning a major chunk of the seats.

Mursi on Sunday surprised everyone by issuing a decree that called for reconvening of the dissolved parliament until new elections were held. The Supreme Constitutional Court said in a terse statement on Monday that all its decisions and rulings were "final" and "binding" on state institutions. The sentiment was echoed by the powerful military council that underlined the "importance of the constitution in light of the latest developments".

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