The presidential office issued a statement on Monday stressing that President Mohamed Morsi's decision to restore the People's Assembly (lower house of parliament) did not conflict with the earlier decision of the High Constitutional Court, as widely claimed.
The assembly was dissolved in mid-June by the then ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) after the court found that the parliamentary elections law – which governed last year's legislative polls – was unconstitutional.
Morsi’s decision to restore the assembly came on Sunday, one week after he was inaugurated as Egypt’s new president.
The president's decision also stipulated that fresh parliamentary polls are to be held within 60 days after the new constitution is drafted.
A number of legal experts have accused Morsi of disregarding the court ruling with his decree to restore the assembly.
On Monday the court said its verdicts are “final and binding.” Hours later, however, the presidential office stressed otherwise in a statement that explained the legality of the presidential decree.
“This presidential decree is based on two pillars: the first is authority [of the president], the second is the case itself… The authority is based on Article 25 of the [interim] constitutional declaration which stipulates that the president carries out the will of the people, and shows respect for the constitution and the rule of law.
“Mohamed Morsi is the president and is responsible for ensuring the will of the people is carried out. This includes assigning tasks to the state’s institutions.
“Consequently, if the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces or its head [Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi] assumed presidential authorities after the constitutional declaration came in effect [in March 2011], then his authority [the president’s] makes him entitled to annul, amend or withdraw any previous decision [of the SCAF].
“Concerning the case [the reinstatement of the assembly], if the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces or its head issued a decision to dissolve the People’s Assembly, that does rule out a decision by the elected president to overturn the former decision, and also does not go against the High Constitutional Court decision.
"The decision to dissolve the People's Assembly was taken legally and so was the presidential decree [restoring the assembly].