Mohammed Gaballah said Monday that the commission, which is composed of senior judges, began meeting a day earlier to organize the Dec. 15 referendum. Gaballah claimed that judges will oversee the vote despite a strike by the judiciary to protest a set of decrees issued by President Mohammed Morsi that place him above judicial oversight. According to Egyptian law, judges must observe the voting at polling stations. Morsi’s decrees also gave immunity to the Islamist-led constituent assembly, which hurriedly approved the draft charter last week despite an opposition boycott. The president’s decrees have split the nation, and plunged Egypt into a deepening political crisis.
Egypt’s highest court has joined a judicial rebellion against President Mohammed Morsi by declaring an open-ended strike on the day it was supposed to rule on the legitimacy of two key assemblies controlled by allies of the Islamist leader.
The strike announced Sunday by the Supreme Constitutional Court and opposition plans to march on the presidential palace on Tuesday take the country’s latest political crisis to a level not seen in the nearly two years of turmoil since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in a popular uprising.
Judges from the country’s highest appeals court and its sister lower court were already on an indefinite strike, joining colleagues from other tribunals who suspended work last week to protest what they saw as Morsi’s assault on the judiciary.
The last time Egypt had an all-out strike by the judiciary was in 1919, when judges joined an uprising against British colonial rule.