Empty Egyptian parliament before the resume of its activities on Tuesday, Cairo, Egypt, Monday, (AP Photo/Mohammed Asad)
Monday saw the doors of Egypt’s People's Assembly (the lower house of parliament) open for the first time in a month following President Mohamed Morsi's decree which reinstated, Sunday, the legislative authority that had been dissolved by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) on 15 June.
Despite the presidential order allowing the People's Assembly to function as normal, several liberal and leftist parties have rejected the decree and announced they are refraining from participating in the parliamentary sessions which are set to resume Tuesday, as announced by parliamentary speaker Saad El-Katatni on Monday.
Egyptian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) MP Emad Gad stated Monday to Ahram Online that his party —which gained 16 parliamentary seats out of a total 332—will boycott the meetings as he considers them "legally void" whilst the fate of the parliament is still in dispute.
"The Muslim Brotherhood has decided to enter into a confrontation with the SCAF and so the ESDP will not take part in an act that the Egyptian people will only be hurt by," Gad explained.
Gad further asserted that the ESDP respects decisions made by the High Constitutional Court (HCC), including the ruling that Egypt’s parliamentary elections law was unconstitutional leading to parliament's dissolution.
The Leftist Tagammu Party—which gained 3 seats in the parliament—issued a statement Monday confirming that it would also avoid the sessions, as parliament convening was in "outright defiance" of the HCC’s ruling, aiming to "destroy" the basic structures of a nation state and "incite a state of chaos" by not respecting the judiciary and its decisions.
In addition the Liberal New Wafd Party—which won 38 seats— is joining the boycott, describing the presidential decree as "arbitrary". However, not all the party members agreed. New Wafd MP Hanan Abul-Gheit announced, Monday, she would not abide by her party’s decision due to the "undemocratic" way in which the group action was determined within the political group.
Following the contentious presidential decree, several meetings have been held by Egypt's top officials. The SCAF held an emergency meeting late Sunday to discuss the matter but no official statements describing the outcome was released.
The HCC convened on Monday but revealed that it would not be involved in the political struggle currently being played out between the SCAF and the president. Instead the court confirmed it would wait for a final decision from Egypt’s Administrative Court.
Meanwhile, a number of cases have been filed against the presidential decree. Alexandria's administrative court is set to look into one of the cases calling for the suspension of Morsi's presidential decree on Tuesday.