The clash over the top prosecutor’s job was politically driven, Egypt’s justice minister said, a day after an appeals court annulled President Mohamed Morsi’s appointment.
The ruling threatened to deepen Morsi’s clash with the judiciary and was seen by Islamists as another example of judicial bias against them. The court voided Morsi’s decree appointing Talaat Ibrahim as prosecutor-general, in place of an official from the era of deposed leader Hosni Mubarak.
“The case of the prosecutor-general is first and foremost a political crisis, and not a legal or judicial one,” Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki said in an interview with Al-Jazeera Mubashir Misr, the local arm of the pan-Arab satellite channel. Mekki said he had not seen the court’s opinion.
The ruling can be appealed, and in the meantime, Ibrahim remains in office.
Morsi’s decision in November to replace Abdel Meguid Mahmoud with his own appointee came as he moved to shield his decisions from judicial review. The move outraged his secular opposition and revolutionary youth groups, who saw it as an infringement on judicial powers.
The tensions added to a simmering political crisis between the Islamists and secularists, a battle that has stymied the country’s economic revival efforts two years after Mubarak’s 2011 ouster.