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Mekki to stay if promised judicial independence

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President Mohamed Morsi assures top judges he will safeguard their independence

The Ministry of Justice proposed a new draft law requesting a new committee to be formed (AFP Photo)

Minister of Justice Ahmed Mekki said he would reconsider his resignation if he were to receive an official written decree promising no one would interfere in the affairs of the judiciary.
(AFP Photo)

Minister of Justice Ahmed Mekki said he would reconsider his resignation if he were to receive an official written decree promising no one would interfere in the affairs of the judiciary.

Mekki resigned on Sunday following protests by Muslim Brotherhood supporters against judges and after the upper house of parliament, the Shura Council, signalled its intent to amend the existing judiciary law and lower the retirement age for judges from 70 to 60. This move would have pushed hundreds of judges into retirement.

The Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties are accusing the judiciary of corruption and of loyalty to the former regime following a series of acquittals of former regime members and a release order for former president Hosni Mubarak.

An administrative court also suspended parliamentary elections called for by President Mohamed Morsi, and the Supreme Constitutional Court dissolved the Islamist-dominated lower house of parliament in June 2012.

Mekki’s statements, made on Monday night on Al-Hayat 2 television channel, come after Morsi met with the full membership of the Supreme Judiciary Council in the presidential palace on Monday.

Morsi told the judges they have his full confidence and respect and that he would perform his constitutional duties of protecting their independence, a presidency statement revealed.

The president also approved the council’s suggestion to hold a “Justice Conference” tasked with discussing the problems facing the judiciary.

As for the proposed judiciary law, Morsi said he had the “utmost confidence” that both the legislative and judicial branch would respect the principle of separation of powers in order to uphold the constitution and rule of law.

The Shura Council was scheduled on Wednesday to discuss amendments to the judiciary bill submitted by moderate Islamist party Al-Wasat’s parliamentary bloc. The National Salvation Front, the country’s largest secular opposition coalition, called for protests in front of the council building on Wednesday in support of judges.

 

About the author

Ahmed Aboulenein

News Reporter

Ahmed Aboul Enein is an Egyptian journalist who hates writing about himself in the third person. Follow him on Twitter @aaboulenein


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