Thousands of Egyptian protesters have gathered in the iconic Liberation Square in the capital, Cairo, to express solidarity with President Mohamed Morsi over his decree to reconvene parliament.
The parliament, dominated by Muslim Brotherhood lawmakers, was dissolved by a military decision in line with a ruling by the Supreme Constitutional Court prior to the presidential elections in June.
Under a constitutional declaration issued on June 17, the military assumed the legislative powers and control over the country’s budget.
The demonstrators on Friday protested against the Supreme Constitutional Court’s ruling and chanted anti-military slogans like, "down, down with military rule."
Egyptian protesters accused the military and the high court of trying to hold their grip on power by curtailing the president’s powers.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Abdullah al-Ashaal, former Egyptian presidential candidate, from Cairo, to further discuss the issue. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
I want to get your take on President Morsi’s stance. Also, what are the elements that could not form the parties in order for the new constitution to come about?
I think this is just a title for the conflict between President Morsi and the military council because the military council, in fact, was orchestrating a plan with the constitutional court to actually deny the existence of the people’s assembly and to curtail the powers of Mr. Morsi by the constitutional complementary declaration.
These two elements, in fact, the constitutional call and the constitutional declaration, were to make Mr. Morsi like the “dumb duck” -- he cannot move at all.
This is why Mr. Morsi has ventured to reinvigorate the people’s assembly for some time to give him the mandate to legislate. At the same time, he declares in his statement that he’s going to open the door for the new elections after the new constitution is drafted.
This is why I think that this is a constitutional act; but what the constitutional court had decided, in fact, had many legal loopholes, and the court itself is playing politics. It is not, in fact, taking the systematic behavior of the constitutional court.
We are fighting the prisoners themselves in cooperation with the military council. This is why Mr. Morsi has to take some drastic act against the judges who are not acting as judges.
Would you agree with [previous guest speaker] professor [Ahmad] Mousalli that the fact that the military council is in power is also non-constitutional?
Yes, the military council has no legal existence at all. It is the military branch of the commander of the Egyptian army.
After the president is taking power, the military council is trying to be the supreme actor in Egypt. We now have … the constitutional head which is Dr. Morsi, and we have the actual head which is the military council. This duality is very bad.
I think the people of Egypt should be standing up for this and to support the president against the military council.
The fact that parties or figures like yourself who were perhaps prominent in the revolution, some analysts believe that you should have played a more prominent role in questioning the legality of the military council and when it first took power.
The military council, after giving power to Mr. Morsi has no legal existence. Any act rendered by the military council is null and void. This is why we have only one head, this is Dr. Morsi, the head of the state who is elected by the people.
The military council came for a transitional period; and this is finished totally. The military council doesn’t have any power to extend the transitional period at all.
How about the judicial court which is a clear residue of the Mubarak regime?
The judicial system in Egypt is in fact full of the people who are the traitors of the Mubarak regime. Every organ in the sea is inhibited by the Mubarak regime. This is why Dr. Morsi has to clean up all these organs, supported by the Egyptian people, and should be in power to do and to act according to the constitution.
I think he’s dangerously hindered by the military council and also by the agents in different organs of the state. This cannot move at all.
I think Mr. Morsi will be judged very severely by the Egyptian people if he doesn’t appear to them to tell them that he has held them. The military council and the judiciary also, especially the many who were surrounding Mr. Mubarak and they’re fighting for him now, I think Mr. Morsi should be courageous enough to tell the Egyptian people what is happening.
Will the revolutionary parties…and other groups and figures such as yourself stand by Mr. Morsi during this?
I think our media which belongs to the old regime also is distorting the realities and this is why the people now are divided. We need to tell them the truth, and we have one voice. In this case, I think we have to make a lot to clear all the passes of the media in Egypt.