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Egyptian Parliament to Defy Military Dissolution

Crowds gather as tensions heighten ahead of Tuesday's parliamentary restart

- Common Dreams staff

Egypt's parliament will reconvene on Tuesday for the first time in nearly a month, in a direct challenge to the military's dissolution of parliament in June. Egypt's parliamentary speaker Saad al-Katatni announced Monday that the lower house will go back to work at noon (0600 EDT) on Tuesday, causing political tensions to rise in the country.

Egypt's supreme court had found the civilian elected parliament unconstitutional in June, saying laws surrounding the recent parliamentary elections were invalid. Following the decision, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) ordered the parliament to disband, took over legislative powers, and called for new elections after a new constitution is written later this year.

Egypt's new president Mohamed Morsi officially annulled this dissolution on Sunday, in a presidential decree that directly challenges the powers of both the supreme court and the military. Morsi's former party, the Muslim Brotherhood, had described the military's parliamentary dissolution as a "soft coup," and accused the military of another governmental takeover.

SCAF immediately called an urgent meeting "to discuss the presidential measures."

The move will also ruffle the feathers of Morsi's political challengers and secular parties within Egypt.

Rifaat al-Said, the head of the leftist Al-Tagammu party, said a march to parliament would likely take place at some point on Monday, and stated that "several parties will boycott parliament's sessions."

The Supreme court released a statement on Monday reaffirming that its ruling was final and binding; however, guards outside the building have begun allowing MPs to return. Salafist MP, Nizar Ghurab, was the first to go into the building on Monday.

'Scores' of Morsi supporters gathered outside the parliamentary building after Monday's announcement.

Islamist members of parliament have said they will attend Tuesday's session, but many secular members have expressed the potential of a boycott.