He also declared Egypt's upper house of parliament immune from dissolution and fired the prosecutor general. And in what activists called perhaps the most worrying point for its vague and broad wording, the president said he could take any measure he sees fit in order to protect "the revolution, the life of the nation, national unity, or security." He says he will relinquish all these powers when a new constitution is in place.
In what appears an attempt to win popular approval for the move, he also ordered retrials for former President Hosni Mubarak, his Interior Minister Habib el Adly, and some of Mr. Adly's deputies on charges of ordering the killing of protesters during the uprising that swept Mr. Mubarak from power in 2011. He also increased the compensation paid to those who were wounded in the uprising.
Morsi was elected by a slim margin earlier this year. Just before the election, the Supreme Constitutional Court, filled with Mubarak appointees, disbanded Egypt's first post-uprising elected parliament, which was dominated by the FJP.
Morsi assumed the parliament's legislative power until a new body is elected, taking it from the military junta which sought, in an eleventh-hour power grab, to keep the legislative power for itself. Earlier this year, a court disbanded the first constituent assembly, after secular members withdrew in protest at Islamist domination of the body. The second constituent assembly, elected by the now-disbanded parliament, is now at risk of being disbanded again, in a court case that was due to be decided soon. Nearly all secular, liberal, and Christian members had resigned from the body, complaining that Islamist members didn't listen to their suggestions.