Mursi invites judges to discuss judicial reform crisis

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Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi has invited senior figures from the judiciary to discuss a crisis triggered by proposed reforms that would push out thousands of judges, state media said on Saturday.

Islamist lawmakers have put forward a bill that would force out more than 3,000 judges by lowering the retirement age, causing a revolt among the judiciary and widening political divisions in the country more than two years after a popular uprising ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian judges - along with the country’s secular, leftist and liberal opposition - say the law aims to cement the authority of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood rather than stamp out corruption.

Mursi’s legal adviser and the justice minister resigned in protest over what they said were attempts to curtail judicial independence.

The bill was proposed by the moderate Islamist Wasat Party, an ally of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.

The state newspaper Al-Ahram reported the president had invited heads of judicial bodies including the High Constitutional Court and the Court of Cassation to meet him in the presidential palace on Sunday to discuss the crisis.

On Friday, the deputy leader of the Brotherhood’s political arm argued the Islamist-dominated parliament must move quickly to adopt the reforms.

In a further sign of the country’s febrile politics, several opposition groups said earlier on Saturday they had filed a case against the government to press it to publish details of the state budget.

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