Egyptian judges defy new law on judiciary appointments

CAIRO: Judges from one of the Egyptian judiciary’s three main branches voted on Saturday to defy a newly adopted and widely disputed law giving the president a degree of control over the judiciary.
State Council judges, who rule on disputes with the government, voted overwhelmingly to put forward judge Yahya Dakroury, their most senior, as their nominee to head their branch.
The move clashes with the new law that stipulates that each judiciary branch nominate three of its seven most senior judges to the president to choose one to head each of the three branches.
The judiciary’s two other branches — the court of cassation and government lawyers — already have complied with the new law, adopted by Parliament and ratified by the president last month with uncustomary speed.
Many judges see the law as an infringement of the judiciary’s independence and a violation of the principle of the separation of government branches.
Before the new law came into effect, each branch of the judiciary nominated their most senior judge to head their branch, with the president’s ratification a foregone conclusion.
President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi will now have to either ratify Dakroury’s nomination to avoid a confrontation with the powerful State Council or independently name one of the most senior judges from that branch as its head.
El-Sisi last month said the executive branch has nothing more to do with or say about the agreement, saying its fate was now in the hands of the judiciary and Parliament, a 596-seat chamber packed with his supporters.
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