The standoff in Egypt between President Mohamed Mursi and the Supreme Constitutional Court over a ruling the court made last month is unlikely to end soon. The outcome of the conflict will undoubtedly have repercussions across the region.
Egypt's Islamist-led parliament reconvened on Tuesday in an open challenge to the generals who dissolved it last month.
The supreme court swiftly ruled the newly elected, Islamist president had acted illegally in summoning the assembly, heightening a confrontation between the newly elected head of state and an establishment that once served Hosni Mubarak.
The legislature, dominated by President Mohamed Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood and allies, was dismissed by the army in line with a Supreme Constitutional Court ruling last month, days before Mursi's election. Mursi, the first civilian leader to lead Egypt in 60 years, ordered parliament's recall on Sunday.
In a sign the standoff would not end swiftly, Brotherhood officials were quick on Tuesday to question the court's right to rule against the president's decree and vowing to fight on.
"I invited you to convene in accordance with the decree issued by the president," said parliament speaker Saad al-Katatni, a Brotherhood man like Mursi, had told parliament.
But many liberal groups - heavily outnumbered by Islamists in parliament - boycotted Tuesday's session, saying Mursi's decree was a violation of the powers of the judiciary.
Then, just hours after lawmakers gathered, the supreme court issued a fresh order: "The court ruled to halt the president's decision to recall the parliament," Maher el-Beheiry, the court's chief justice, said.
Egypt's troubled transition to democracy is increasingly being fought in the courts, but that masks a much deeper conflict with an establishment rooted in six decades of military rule, half of that period under the leadership of Mubarak.
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