Egypt mass protests challenge Islamist president

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The vaguely worded statement did not define those issues, but they were widely interpreted to cover declaration of war, imposition of martial law, breaking diplomatic relations with a foreign nation or dismissing a Cabinet. Morsi’s original edict, however, explicitly gives immunity to all his decisions and there was no sign it had been changed.

Monday’s presidential statement did not touch on the immunity that Morsi gave the constitutional assembly or the upper chamber of parliament, known as the Shura Council. It also did not affect the edict that the president can take any measures he sees as necessary to stop threats to the revolution, stability or public institutions. Many see that edict as granting Morsi unlimited emergency powers.

The Shura Council does not have lawmaking authorities but, in the absence of the more powerful lower chamber, the People’s Assembly, it is the only popularly elected, national body where the Brotherhood and other Islamists have a majority. The People’s Assembly was dissolved by a court ruling in June.

On Tuesday, the influential Judges’ Club, a sort of union led by an outspoken Morsi critic, vowed in a statement to escalate its resistance to the decrees. Judges and prosecutors in some parts of the country held a strike for a third day, leaving many courtrooms empty across the nation.

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AP correspondents Maggie Michael and Aya Batrawy contributed to this report.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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