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Not so defiant: Egypt's parliament meets for 5 minutes

Egypt's parliament defied a military order for its dissolution and convened briefly today, but did so merely to determine how to respond to a Supreme Court ruling declaring the parliament invalid.

By Correspondent / July 10, 2012

The Egyptian parliament building in Cairo, Tuesday, July 10. Egypt's Islamist-dominated parliament convened Tuesday in defiance of a ruling by the country's highest court and swiftly voted to seek a legal opinion on the decision that invalidated the chamber over apparent election irregularities.

Khalil Hamra/AP

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Egypt's parliament reconvened today in defiance of the order for its dissolution, though it quickly adjourned in a move that could mitigate the potential discord between recently inaugurated President Mohammed Morsi and the military.

Al Jazeera reports that the parliamentary session lasted only five minutes, beginning after a brief speech from Speaker Saad al-Katatni of the Muslim Brotherhood, who said that the legislative body had gathered only "to review the court rulings, the ruling of the Supreme Constitutional Court." Last month the court declared the parliament invalid, prompting Egypt's interim military leaders to dissolve the legislature. 

"I want to stress, we are not contradicting the ruling, but looking at a mechanism for the implementation of the ruling of the respected court. There is no other agenda today," he added.

Mr. Katatni then proposed that parliament seek help from an appeals court in implementing the Supreme Court ruling. Parliament approved Katatni's proposal and adjourned. Ahram Online reports that parliament's decision to defer to the courts is being seen as a "possible compromise between the Muslim Brotherhood and Military Council, thus staving off what looked to be a serious constitutional and political crisis."

Parliament will not meet again until the appeals court gives its verdict, according to Ahram Online. 

The brief, perfunctory nature of the session appears to at least temporarily put the brakes on the collision course that the military and President Morsi had been on. Morsi's order revoking the dissolution of the parliament directly challenged the military's authority in "a bold and significant step," Khalil al-Anani, an expert on Islamist movements at Durham University, told the Monitor. "...This decree reflects Morsi's sense of self-assertiveness and confidence,” he said. “The question is to what extent Morsi can defy the military and challenge their power.”

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