Cairo: Egypt`s Islamist-led Parliament on Wednesday pushed ahead with a law that could force into retirement many of the nation`s most senior judges, despite an uproar by the judiciary over fears the President`s allies want to control the courts.
The country`s Judges` Union, which represents thousands of Egypt`s judges, warned they would not recognise the law or even the discussions in parliament about it. They vowed to turn to international organisations, such as the United Nations and African Union, to investigate what they said are violations against the judiciary.
More than 6,000 judges from around the country gathered in Cairo on Wednesday to decide on a strategy in their power struggle with President Mohammed Mursi.
The crisis over the judiciary is a reflection of the deep polarisation that has split the country.
The judiciary, with mostly secular-minded professional judges, is seen by many Egyptians as the one of the only remaining buffers against Islamists` monopoly on power following the ouster of authoritarian ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Since then, Islamist parties have swept elections and dominated legislative councils and the presidency.
President Mohammed Mursi`s Muslim Brotherhood party counters that many judges are holdovers from the Mubarak era who must be replaced. Mursi`s supporters engaged in violent street clashes last Friday with opponents over calls to "cleanse the judiciary”.