Clash between Egypt's legislature, Cabinet grows

Egypt's Islamist-dominated parliament said Sunday it was suspending its sessions for a week to protest the ruling military's failure to heed repeated calls for the dismissal of the government.

Parliament speaker Saad el-Katatni of the powerful Muslim Brotherhood, announced the decision after lawmakers spoke in a televised session against the government of Prime Minister Kamal el-Ganzouri and the ruling generals who appointed it late last year.

"It is my responsibility as speaker of the People's Assembly (parliament) to safeguard the chamber's dignity and that of its members. There must be a solution to this crisis," el-Katatni told lawmakers before he adjourned the session until May 6.

The legislature's move is likely to fuel tensions between the generals and the Brotherhood, which controls just under half the seats in parliament. They are already at odds over what was widely seen as an attempt by the Brotherhood-led Islamists in parliament to dominate a 100-member panel that was to draft a new constitution.

A court ordered the panel disbanded and consultations are under way between political parties and the ruling generals over the composition of a new panel.

Egypt's military ruler, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, has hinted in several public comments in recent weeks that the powerful military would not allow the Brotherhood to dominate the country.

The credibility of the Brotherhood was dented when it announced it was fielding a candidate in presidential elections, reversing an earlier decision to stay out of the May 23-24 race. An expected runoff will be held on June 16-17 and a winner will be announced on June 21. The military has promised to hand over power by July 1.

El-Ganzouri, who is in his late 70s, served as prime minister during the 1990s under longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak before he was toppled in a popular uprising 14 months ago.