By NVONews.Com Middle East Correspondent,
President Mohamed Morsi’s last Monday decree reconvening the People’s Assembly, the Lower House of the Egyptian Parliamemnt, had not only created a division between the political executive and judiciary––as well as Supreme Council of Armed Forces––it also divided the judiciary itself.
Though many legal luminaries are hotly debating the move, on Thursday it reached a climax when a couple of senior judges went on to criticize those opposing the Presidential decree.
Walid Shoraby, spokesman for the Judges for Egypt Movement, on Thursday made up of reformist judges who launched an initiative to monitor the recent presidential election, had condemned the strong criticisms of Morsi’s decision made by Ahmed El-Zend, head of the rival Egyptian Judges’ Club.
The Egyptian Judges’ Club, it needs to be recalled, had, in the past, participated in protests against ousted President Hosni Mubarak as part of the larger pro-reform movement that reached its peak in 2005.
However, according to many of its members, after El-Zend became leader of the Club in 2009 it turned away from activism and took a more conservative and pro-regime stance.
“I urge El-Zend to realise that judges will not idly stand by and listen to irresponsible and unrepresentative remarks,” Shoraby was quoted by Al-Ahram on Thursday evening. He also addressed a Press conference on this issue and had the backing of a large number of lawyers too.
Moreover, Judge Hesham El-Labban stated that judges would attempt to force a no-confidence vote in El-Zend regarding his position as a judge.
It needs to be recalled that on Monday night, hours after Morsi’s decision to reinstate the People’s Assembly, El-Zend strongly criticized the President. He warned that the President would have to backtrack from his decision within 36 hours or else more “severe measures” would be taken by the judiciary.
El-Zend went on to imply that Morsi, who is a long time member of the Muslim Brotherhood, had reinstated the People’s Assembly because the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)––the group’s political arm––holds nearly half of the Assembly’s seats.
“The decree goes against the ruling of the Supreme Constitutional Court, which is the highest judicial authority in Egypt,” El-Zend had said at a Press Conference at the Journalists’ Syndicate on Tuesday.
It was on Tuesday itself that the restored People’s Assembly held its first brief session.
The division among top judges of the country suggests that there is ample scope to debate the decree. President Morsi’s action can not be outrightly condemned and rejected as unconstitutional as the SCC did after Monday’s decree.