Egypt's prominent reform judge Mahmoud Mekki announced Saturday night that he had resigned as vice-president.
Mekki released a statement explaining the reasons behind his resignation, asserting that this was not the first time the thought had crossed his mind.
"I have realised for some time that the nature of the political profession contradicts my nature as a judge," said Mekki, adding that he had earlier attempted to step down 7 November. The Israeli attack on Gaza and a later development summit Mekki attended in Pakistan put his resignation on the back burner.
Mekki added that on his return from Pakistan 23 November he was surprised to find out about the constitutional decree issued by President Morsi a day earlier, and then later a law to "guard the revolution."
Mekki's intention to resign was also delayed due to his recent attempt to manage a national dialogue between political forces and the presidency in order to resolve "the current state of political polarisation."
Some view Mekki's resignation, coming a few hours before the end of the final phase of the referendum the draft constitution, as influenced by the fact that the new constitiution establishes no obligation for the president to appoint a vice president.
"I see that today is the right time to announce my resignation," said Mekki.
Mekki was the first civilian to serve as vice president since Egypt's 1952 revolution. A reformist judge, Mekki is most well-known for fighting for judicial reforms under the former Mubarak regime. Mekki and colleagues also opposed the rigging of parliamentary elections in 2005, widely held to be fraudulent.
Mekki started his career in the police force, graduating from the Police Academy and serving as a Central Security Forces officer. Later, he earned a bachelor's degree in law and eventually headed Egypt's Court of Cassation.
His brother, Judge Ahmed Mekki, is minister of justice in President Mohamed Morsi's government, appointed 2 August.