Military leaders and Supreme Court face challenge as recently dissolved parliament convenes “to review court rulings”.
Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi has said he will seek dialogue with political forces and judicial authorities to resolve a row over parliament, which was dissolved by the country’s generals when they were still in charge.
“There will be consultations among all political forces, institutions and the supreme council of judicial authorities to find the best way out of this situation in order to overcome this stage together,” Morsi said in a statement carried by Egypt’s official news agency.
The president said he was “committed to the rulings of Egyptian judges and very keen to manage state powers and prevent any confrontation”.
Last week, Morsi ordered parliament to convene in defiance of a military decision to disband the house in line with a court ruling last month, before the generals handed power to the president.
Morsi’s decree was applauded by supporters who believed the court’s decision to disband parliament was political, but it set off a fire storm of criticism from opponents who accused him of overstepping his authority.
According to the country’s interim constitution, drafted by the military generals who took charge after President Hosni Mubarak’s overthrow early last year, the military assumed the dissolved parliament’s powers.
Morsi’s decision was seen as an opening shot in a power struggle between Egypt’s first civilian leader and the Mubarak-appointed generals who wanted to retain broad powers even after they transferred control on June 30.
The parliament met briefly on Tuesday and voted to refer the original ruling to an appeals court.
Morsi travelled to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday for his first foreign trip since being sworn in.
In Riyadh, he will seek to strengthen ties with the world’s top oil exporter, according to local media.
He will hold talks with King Abdullah and senior officials in the monarchy, which had close links with Hosni Mubarak, who was forced to step down in a popular uprising last year.
The Saudi monarchy fears that Arab Spring uprisings that ousted leaders in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen could spark a revolt by the Shia minority in the kingdom.
Egyptian-Saudi ties hit a low in May, when the kingdom recalled its envoy to Cairo after demonstrations outside its embassy to protest the detention in Saudi Arabia of an Egyptian man on suspicion of drug smuggling and reported abuses of Egyptians working there.
An estimated 1.5 million Egyptians work in Saudi Arabia.