Egypt president orders return of parliament
Announcement likely to spur showdown with powerful generals
Egypt's official news agency says the country's top generals are holding an "emergency meeting" to discuss the surprise decision by President Mohammed Morsi to recall the dissolved, Islamist-dominated parliament.
Last month, the then-ruling generals ordered the legislature dissolved following a ruling by Egypt's highest court that a third of the parliament's members were illegally elected.
The Middle East News Agency said the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces that comprises top military chiefs was meeting Sunday to "review and discuss the consequences" of Morsi's decision earlier the same day. An Islamist, Morsi is Egypt's first democratically elected president.
The generals took over from Hosni Mubarak when he stepped down nearly 17 months ago after a popular uprising. They formally handed over power to Morsi on June 30.
The surprise move by the Islamist Morsi will almost certainly lead to a clash with the powerful generals who formally handed power to him on June 30 after spending 16 months at the nation's helm following the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in a popular uprising.
The decree by Morsi, a longtime Muslim Brotherhood member, also called for new parliamentary elections to be held within 60 days of the adoption of a new constitution for the country, which is not expected before late this year.
Last month, the then-ruling military generals dissolved the legislature based on the ruling by the Supreme constitutional Court, the country's highest tribunal.
The military announced a "constitutional declaration" on June 16 that gave it legislative powers in the absence of parliament and stripped Morsi of much of his presidential authority. It also gave the generals control over the process of drafting a new constitution and immunity from any civilian oversight.
Morsi came to power after narrowly defeating Mubarak's last prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, in a June 16-17 runoff. He was declared the winner on June 24. He symbolically took the oath of office five days later at Tahrir Square, birthplace of the revolt that toppled Mubarak's regime on Feb. 11, 2011.
He took the formal oath the next day before the Supreme constitutional Court and later during a speech at Cairo University before hundreds of his supporters, including many of the dissolved legislature's lawmakers.
A conservative Islamist, Morsi's move may have been inspired in large part by a desire to assert his authority in the face of the military, which has been the country's de facto ruler since army officers seized power in a 1952 coup that toppled the monarchy. But Morsi's defiance of a ruling by the country's highest court could backfire, leading to charges that he has no respect for the judiciary.