President Mohammed Mursi has come under increasing pressure over his decree, announced on 22 November 2012, which seeks to place his edicts outside the realm of any judicial oversight until a new constitution is approved. Mr Mursi has maintained the temporary measure prevents democratically elected bodies, in charge of writing the constitution, from being undermined.
Pursuant to the decree, no authority can revoke presidential decisions. Additionally, there is a bar on judges dissolving the assembly that is currently writing Egypt’s new constitution. The 100-member assembly drawing up the constitution has been disbanded already by the courts once before and has had its deadline extended by two months under the decree. There is fear that the real agenda of the assembly, currently dominated by Islamist, is to increase the Islamist influence within the constitution. The new constitution will be put to a referendum before coming into force.
At least three senior advisors to Mr Mursi have resigned over the new measures and street protesting escalated over last weekend in Cairo. Judges have threatened a national strike in response to the proposed measures. The move is seen by critics as a step towards an autocratic Egypt to increase Mr Mursi’s power rather than protecting the revolution.
Mr Mursi is a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and was elected to Presidency after Hosni Mubarak was ousted from Egypt. Mr Mursi’s current justice minister is seeking to find a half-way solution to scale back the decree through discussions with the Supreme Council of the Judiciary, the highest council overseeing Egyptian courts.
Egyptian media reported on Monday that Mr Mursi has agreed to restrict the scope of the decree so as to enable judicial review of his edicts, but that the assembly would be still protected from such review. Major demonstrations which had been called for in Cairo on Tuesday have been cancelled due to fears over extensive clashes.