what if . . .

Emergency Rule Declared, Constitution Suspended.

The President defended his actions in a national address, saying he was curbing a rise in extremism. The Chief Justice has been replaced. The Supreme Court has been surrounded by troops- as have public radio and television stations. The moves come as the Supreme Court was due to rule on the legality of the president's election victories.

"Extremists are roaming around freely in the country, and they are not scared of law-enforcement agencies," the president said.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the declaration of emergency rule was "highly regrettable."

The political and judicial core has been shut down, but the rest of the country is functioning normally.

The main target is the judiciary which is accused of interfering in government policy-- and weakening the struggle against terrorism.

The Chief Justice and eight other judges refused to endorse the emergency order, declaring it unconstitutional.

A new chief justice has been appointed.

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