Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) never resorted to taking "exceptional" measures during its interim tenure in power, the military council declared in a Monday statement, one day after parliament's lower house was reinstated via presidential decree.
The SCAF went on to assert that its decision last month to dissolve the People's Assembly (the lower house of Egypt's parliament) had been based on a ruling returned by Egypt's High Constitutional Court (HCC).
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi issued a decision on Sunday reinstating the People's Assembly, one week after he was inaugurated as Egypt’s first freely-elected head of state. The decision also called for fresh parliamentary polls to be held within 60 days after ratification of a new constitution.
The presidential decree has stirred considerable controversy, with several legal experts and political analysts arguing that Morsi had disregarded the court ruling, pursuant to which the SCAF ordered the dissolution of the People's Assembly last month.
Others, however, expressed support for Morsi's move, arguing that the SCAF never had the right to dismantle parliament's lower house in the first place.
In a statement issued by state news agency MENA, however, the military council asserted otherwise.
In its statement, the SCAF also defended its decision to issue a 'constitutional addendum' last month, which gave the military council wide-ranging powers at the expense of the dissolved People's Assembly and the presidency.
The SCAF went on to deny claims that Morsi's decision to restore parliament came as the result of a "deal" cut with the military council.
It had been speculated that the SCAF had arrived at an agreement with the Muslim Brotherhood, from whose ranks the new president hails, before the latter moved to reinstate the People's Assembly.
The full text of the military council's statement is as follows:
Given recent developments, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces stresses the following:
The SCAF since assuming responsibility [power] has always been on the side of the people, and has never resorted to any exceptional measures, and has improved the institutional work of all state institutions, stressing the importance of the legitimacy of law and the constitution to preserve the status of the Egyptian state, and out of respect for its great people.
Decree number 350 for the year 2012, issued by the SCAF, came in accordance with the council's authority and represented the implementation of a verdict delivered by the High Constitutional Court, which declared the People's Assembly null and void since its election.
The Constitutional Deceleration issued on 17 June 2012 came as a result of the political, legal and constitutional circumstances that the country was facing. It ensures the continuity of state institutions and the SCAF until a new constitution is drafted. We are confident that all state institutions will respect all constitutional declarations.
The malicious accusation that the SCAF cut a deal [with the presidency] is an important issue that shakes the pillars of patriotism that we have always stuck to and respected.
The Armed Forces belongs to Egypt's great people, and will always fulfil its promises and be on the side of legitimacy, the constitution and the law for the sake of the people.