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Originally published Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 6:11 PM

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Egypt military wins round in presidential power struggle

The case is likely to be referred to the Supreme Constitutional Court, Egypt's top judicial body, all of whose members were appointed by ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

McClatchy Newspapers

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CAIRO — Egypt's ruling military council won a preliminary round Thursday in its battle with newly elected President Mohammed Morsi when a key administrative court ruled it did not have jurisdiction to review the council's amendment of the country's constitution to strip the presidency of some critical powers.

The case is likely to be referred to the Supreme Constitutional Court, the country's top judicial body, all of whose members were appointed by former President Hosni Mubarak and which issued a series of rulings ahead of last month's presidential election that undercut the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi was a prominent Brotherhood member before he resigned from the group after being elected to the presidency.

The administrative court also postponed a ruling on the legality of the constitutional assembly that is drafting a permanent constitution. The postponement came after Brotherhood lawyers asked that the court's judges be removed.

The two actions add to the uncertainty that has dominated politics in Egypt since Morsi won a runoff vote in mid-June. He took office June 30, but it's unclear what powers he has; he has yet to appoint a government, and the Parliament, which the Brotherhood dominated, has been dissolved after the Supreme Constitutional Court ruled that one-third of its members had won their seats illegally.

Morsi and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which has been Egypt's top executive authority since Mubarak's resignation last year, have been sparring over Morsi's power since his election in the first democratic presidential vote in Egyptian history.

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