Egypt’s President Mohammed Mursi has ordered the retirement of the powerful head of the country’s armed forces, Field Marshal Mohamad Hussein Tantawi, a presidential spokesman has said.
He also said a constitutional declaration aimed at curbing presidential powers had been cancelled.
Mohammed Mursi, who was elected in June, is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Relations between the Brotherhood and the military have been tense since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak.
Field Marshal Mohamad Hussein Tantawi – who has also been removed as defence minister – has not yet indicated whether he accepts the moves.
President Mohammed Mursi has ordered the retirement of the powerful head of the country's armed forces, Field Marshal Mohamad Hussein Tantawi
Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said a career army officer, General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, would replace Field Marshal Mohamad Hussein Tantawi.
The president’s intervention is clearly an attempt to take decisive action in his tug of war for control with the armed forces.
Under the interim constitutional declaration issued before Mohammed Mursi was sworn in, the president cannot rule on matters related to the military – including appointing its leaders.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), which issued the declaration, also dissolved parliament, which is dominated by the president’s Islamist allies.
As head of the SCAF, Field Marshal Mohamad Hussein Tantawi became Egypt’s interim ruler after President Mubarak was ousted following mass protests in February last year.
Sunday’s presidential announcement also said armed forces chief of staff Sami Annan was retiring.
The spokesman said Gen Annan and Field Marshal Mohamad Hussein Tantawi had been appointed as presidential advisers and were given Egypt’s highest state honor, the Grand Collar of the Nile.
Tensions between the Egyptian presidency and the military have been exacerbated since Islamist militants in the Sinai peninsula killed 16 border guards in a raid last week.
Both sides have tried to use the incident to strengthen their position.
Egypt’ Supreme Court has overturned a decree by President Mohammed Mursi to recall parliament.
Mohammed Mursi had issued the decree in defiance of a military council ruling that dissolved parliament.
Members of parliament gathered for a brief session earlier in the day before the ruling of the Supreme Constitutional Court was announced.
Hundreds have gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to protest against the court’s latest decision.
Protesters chanted slogans calling the decision “illegitimate” and denouncing the military, reports say.
The same court sparked the current impasse last month, when it said the parliamentary election was null and void because of flaws in the law setting it up.
Egypt' Supreme Court has overturned a decree by President Mohammed Mursi to recall parliament
The Muslim Brotherhood party – Mohammed Mursi’s power base – has the biggest bloc of seats in the parliament, and the current political impasse is seen by analysts as being part of a power struggle between the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) and the party.
Members of parliament met for their brief session before it was adjourned by Speaker Saad al-Katatni.
Saad al-Katatni said that by holding the assembly, MPs were not contradicting the dissolution ruling “but looking at a mechanism for the implementation of the ruling of the respected court. There is no other agenda today”.
The MPs approved Saad al-Katatni’s proposal that the parliament seek legal advice from a high appeals court on how to implement the supreme court’s ruling on the election.
Some non-Islamist MPs boycotted the session, criticizing Mohammed Mursi for what they said was an attack on the judiciary.
The liberal Free Egyptians party said Mohammed Mursi’s “violation of the Supreme Court’s decision” represented a “challenge to the legitimacy of his own rule”, as the president had taken his oath of office in front of the court.
The SCAF said it was confident “all state institutions” would respect the law and constitution.
The dissolution of parliament took place the day before Mohammed Mursi was elected in Egypt’s first ever free presidential poll.
It is unclear how events will unfold as the situation – with the new president elected without a new constitution having been drafted – is unprecedented, analysts say.
At the same time as dissolving parliament, the SCAF also issued a constitutional declaration stripping the president of any authority over the military, giving itself legislative powers and the power to veto the as-yet-undrafted constitution.
Supreme Constitutional Court in Egypt, which dissolved the parliament last month, is due to discuss how to respond to President Mohammed Mursi’s order to reconvene it.
The speaker of the dissolved house has called for it to meet on Tuesday.
Military and judicial authorities have held emergency talks, but have not announced any action so far.
Mohammed Mursi, whose Muslim Brotherhood won most seats, said the chamber should reconvene until a new election is held.
Military police are keeping the area around the parliament building sealed.
Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court is due to discuss how to respond to President Mohammed Mursi's order to reconvene parliament dissolution
It is not clear when or how MPs are expected to reconvene.
MPs would first have to get past a line of police and military guards who have been preventing them from entering the parliament building – or they could meet elsewhere.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) – which has assumed legislative power – met in an emergency session shortly after the presidential decree was issued on Sunday.
It is due to hold another meeting.
The military had enforced a court order last month dissolving parliament because party members had contested seats reserved for independents.
The SCAF took over the reins of power last year, after the revolution that ended former President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
The army move was initially welcomed by many of the anti-government protesters, but its presence became increasingly unpopular as critics accused its leaders of wanting to hold on to power.
Mohammed Mursi won the country’s first free presidential election last month, and army chiefs formally handed over power on 30 June.
But before his inauguration, the military had granted itself sweeping powers.
The commanders’ constitutional declaration stripped the president of any authority over the military, gave military chiefs legislative powers, and the power to veto the new constitution, which has yet to be drafted.
In his presidential decree, Mohammed Mursi said new parliamentary elections would be held 60 days after the constitution had been agreed by referendum, the decree said.
The Muslim Brotherhood has consistently opposed the decision to dissolve parliament.
But analysts say it is unclear whether the president has the authority to reinstate the assembly.
If there was a political truce in Egypt, it could soon be over – unless this is part of a more complicated deal, under which parliament would meet briefly then be dissolved by the president.
Bloomberg: Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi Reinstates Parliament
Egypt’s ruling military council has vowed to hand over power to an elected president by the end of June.
The promise comes as votes are counted after Sunday’s presidential run-off election, with both candidates claiming they are ahead in early results.
However, the council had earlier issued a declaration granting itself sweeping powers over legislation and the introduction of a new constitution.
Opposition groups condemned the declaration as a “coup”.
Lt Muhammad al-Assar from the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) told a news conference that a ceremony would be held in late June to hand over power to the new president, state media report.
However, the constitutional declaration issued by the SCAF late on Sunday effectively gives it legislative powers, control over the budget and over who writes the permanent constitution following mass street protests that toppled Hosni Mubarak in February 2011.
It also strips the president of any authority over the army.
The SCAF have even guaranteed themselves jobs for life.
There have been no big protests so far – the military must be hoping that Egyptians are simply too tired of politics to protest, and are willing to go for stability whatever the cost, our correspondent says.
But the army’s declaration was widely condemned in opposition circles.
Prominent political figure Mohamed El Baradei has described the document as a “grave setback for democracy and revolution”.
Former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahi, who came third in the first round of voting and was the favored candidate of many in the protest movement, said the declaration was a “seizure of the future of Egypt”.
“We will not accept domination by any party,” Hamdeen Sabahi said.
Parliament speaker Saad al-Katatni, of the Muslim Brotherhood, said the declaration was “null and void”.
The Brotherhood had earlier urged Egyptians to “protect their revolution” after the SCAF dissolved parliament – dominated by the Brotherhood – on Saturday.
Two days earlier, the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that last year’s legislative polls were unconstitutional because party members were allowed to contest seats in the lower house reserved for independents.
On Monday morning, soldiers prevented MPs from entering parliament.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Mursi ran in Sunday’s poll against Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister under former President Hosni Mubarak.
The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohammed Mursi ran in Sunday's poll against Ahmed Shafiq, who served as prime minister under former President Hosni Mubarak
The Brotherhood said Mohammed Mursi was holding a 52%-48% lead over Ahmed Shafiq with almost all the vote counted after Sunday’s second-round run-off election.
Speaking at his party headquarters, Mohammed Mursi pledged to be a president for all Egyptians, adding that he would not “seek revenge or settle scores”.
Hundreds of Mohammed Mursi’s supporters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to celebrate his declaration of victory.
But Ahmed Shafiq’s campaign said it rejected “completely” Mohammed Mursi’s victory claim, and that figures it had obtained showed Shafiq in the lead.
Official results from the Higher Presidential Election Commission (HPEC) will be announced on Thursday, state TV reported.
Correspondents say that there was less enthusiasm in the run-off election than there was for previous rounds of voting, and some called for a boycott or spoiled ballots.
Ahmed Shafiq came second to Mohammed Mursi in last month’s first round, in which turnout among the 52 million eligible voters was only 46%.
• Aged 70
• Veteran fighter pilot and former air force commander
• Appointed Egypt’s first aviation minister, earning reputation for competence and efficiency
• Promoted to PM during February 2011 protests
• Associated with former regime, though denies being backed by ruling military council
• Campaigned on a promise to restore security
• Aged 60
• US-educated engineering professor
• Head of Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)
• Served as independent MP 2000-05
• Quietly spoken, viewed by some as lacking charisma
• Has promised “stability, security, justice and prosperity” under an Islamic banner