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Morsi to Keep Expanded Powers
November 26, 2012

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Mohammed Morsi will hang on to the new powers he granted himself, after meeting with Egypt's top judges.

In meeting with the Supreme Judiciary Council, Egypt's suddenly much more powerful president insisted that his decrees intended to be temporary and restricted to "sovereignty issues." Specifically, Morsi was referring to previous decisions by top judges to dissolve both the People's Assembly and the panel named to write the country's new constitution. Morsi insisted that he would rescind the new powers once the new constitution was in place.

In an announcement last week, Morsi declared himself immune from judicial decisions and extended that immunity to the legislature, out of concern that the remaining house, the Shura, would be dissolved as well by judicial edict. The panel drafting the new constitution has already lost most Christian and more liberal members because of disagreements over the extent to which Islamic law will be incorporated in the new laws of the land. As with Parliament, the 100-member constitution-writing panel has a majority who belong to either the Muslim Brotherhood or the Salafis, a far-right Islamic group.

The Muslim Brotherhood cancelled a rally planned to counter a demonstration in Cairo's Tahrir Square, scene of so many protests going back nearly two years now. Protests continued nationwide, with more than 400 injuries being reported in the handful of days since Morsi's announcement.

The presidential decree continued to make waves across various elements of the country. The Egyptian stock index fell for a second straight day before righting and finishing slightly higher.

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