Egypt's constitutional court insisted on Monday that an earlier court decision that led to the dissolving of Parliament must stand, ratcheting up a confrontation with the new president a day after he tried to reclaim legislative authority by unexpectedly ordering the country’s Islamist-led Parliament to reconvene.
State television said that the Supreme Constitutional Court, after discussing President Mohamed Morsi's order to Parliament on Sunday, refused to reconsider its decision, affirming that it was final and binding, news agencies reported. The development seemed to deepen the prospects for a confrontation between Mr. Morsi and his Islamist supporters on the one hand, and the military council and the courts on the other.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Morsi had appeared to be seeking to ease the sense of building confrontation. He attended a military graduation ceremony during which he was shown on television sitting next to Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the leader of the military council. The two men chatted with each other, and Mr. Morsi smiled as he watched a karate demonstration by the cadets.
But by midday Monday, the military had made no official response to Mr. Morsi’s action, which struck many observers as an audacious challenge to the generals’ authority.
Some analysts said it seemed likely that the army had known of his plans, while others found it hard to believe the generals would tolerate such an open challenge to their power. “The decree could create a political crisis,” Gamal Eid, a prominent human rights lawyer, said on Sunday. “He has been waiting to make a decision to prove he is president of a republic.”