Cairo, Jul 9 - Egypt's reinstated parliament will return to work tomorrow to reclaim its legislative powers from the ruling military, following a surprise presidential decree that upturned its dissolution in direct confrontation with the Army and the judiciary.
Though President Mohamed Mursi and Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi made a joint appearance at the armed forces graduation ceremony today, the rift between the Supreme Council of Armed Forces and the elected dispensation was for everyone to see.
In a surprise move yesterday, Mursi asserted his authority by nullifying the dissolution of the parliament, but in line with the supreme court declared that fresh elections will be held within 60 days of the adoption of a new constitution.
Parliamentary speaker Saad El-Katatni called for a general parliamentary session to take place tomorrow even as security forces allowed MPs into the building after almost a month preventing them from entry, Al Ahram said.
Following the decree, both SCAF and High Constitutional Court held emergency meetings to discuss the developments, but did not come out with any statement.
The President's move to recall the Muslim Brotherhood- dominated parliament was met by both praise and indignation, and some papers described it as a "political earthquake".
"Mursi says to SCAF: Check mate," read the headline of the independent daily Al-Watan.
The Brotherhood's victory in the parliamentary election had made the liberal-secularists in the country uneasy and some prominent secular politicians, including Mohamed ElBaradei, criticised Mursi's decision to upturn the verdict.
"In any decent and democratic country, a president cannot disrespect the judiciary," said Rifaat al-Said, the head of the leftist Al-Tagammu party.
"Whether Mursi likes it or not, he must respect the judiciary's decisions," he told state television.
The Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party said on its website that half of the military forces who had been present to secure the parliament's lower house returned to their barracks following the decree, though the other half will stay to maintain for security.
The Muslim Brotherhood, that dominates the parliament, had described the dissolution of the legislature by a court last month as a "soft coup".
The president's decree defied the June 14 ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court to dissolve the parliament on grounds that its election had violated certain norms.
Following the ruling, the military took over the legislative functions of the parliament, further exacerbating unrest among Egyptians, who saw the moves as the Army's attempt to hold on to power.
The Freedom and Justice Party dominated the recently elected parliament of Egypt, holding along with its allies 235 of the 498 seats. The Salafist Al Nour party and its allies have 123 seats, while the socialist bloc New Wafd had 38 seats.
According to Al Jazeera it was still unclear whether Mursi had launched an open challenge to the military or had worked out an agreement with them. PTI