About-turn as Egypt’s chief prosecutor rescinds his resignation

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EGYPT’S chief public prosecutor, forced to quit this week amid protests, retracted his resignation last night, setting the stage for more turmoil as the nation votes on a new constitution.

Prosecutor Talaat Ibrahim, appointed by president Mohammed Morsi when he assumed new powers last month, said his resignation on Monday had been offered under duress.

Mr Ibrahim had quit after more than 1,000 members of his staff gathered at his office in Cairo to demand that he step down. Mr Morsi’s decision to appoint him, instead of leaving the appointment to judicial authorities, threatened the independence of the judiciary, protesters said. Mr Ibrahim described his removal from office as “mysterious and abnormal” and said it was now up to the justice minister to decide on his future. Several prosecutors said they would picket Mr Ibrahim’s office.

Polling on the referendum began last Saturday, with the second part tomorrow after judges refused to supervise the ballot, claiming the constitution was a divisive, Islamist-backed charter.