Two members of the President Mohamed Morsy’s appointed government on Sunday disagreed over the constitutional declaration he issued at the end of last week, symbolizing the split among prominent political forces over the president’s attempt to grant himself extensive authority.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mohamed Mahsoub agreed with the declaration, accusing Morsy’s opponents of “a prior decision to work toward overthrowing him.”
“The protests preceded [Morsy’s] decisions, followed [his] decisions and will resume,” Minister Mohamed Mahsoub wrote on his Twitter account.
However, Justice Minister Ahmed Mekky said he had concerns with the document, and that Morsy should have entered into a dialogue with other political forces over the declaration before issuing it, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm.
According to the declaration issued Thursday, Morsy’s decisions cannot be challenged until a new constitution is drafted. It also prevents the Constituent Assembly from being dissolved and extends its work two more months.
Various political forces have rejected the declaration, staging a sit-in in Tahrir Square and calling for a million-strong protest on Tuesday. The Muslim Brotherhood, of which Morsy is a former leader, supports the declaration and has announced it will demonstrate in Abdeen Square on the same day.
In an interview with privately owned satellite channel Al-Hayat on Saturday, Mekky implied that while some hold him responsible for the constitutional declaration, Morsy did not in fact consult him about it.
Mekky added that he would propose amendments to strip Morsy of immunity to legal challenges over his decisions. He said he hoped political forces in the opposition would agree to this concession, accusing them of meeting only to reject things.
He also cast doubt on the efficacy of the Judges Club general assembly’s recommendation that courts suspend their work, urging judges not to follow the suggestion as it “hinders justice.”
Mahsoub, the parliamentary affairs minister, not only disagreed with the opposition, but also supported the declaration. He said political forces opposed to Morsy’s decision had already decided, before the declaration was issued, that they wanted a clause in the draft constitution mandating a new presidential election. More than one-quarter of the Constituent Assembly, mainly non-Islamists and Coptic Christians, have resigned from the body in protest of what they say is Islamist domination.
Mahsoub also openly worried that a dispute could break out again, even if the Constituent Assembly were dissolved and the presidential election was held again. There are no guarantees, he said, that protesters would be satisfied with these concessions, citing their “fluctuating intentions.”
Mekky was also concerned, fearing the impact of the current dispute on the future of the state. He said no “independent judiciary” exists without a state with an elected parliament and executive authority to implement court decisions.
The crisis over Morsy’s declaration is the “demolition of the Egyptian state,” he warned.