Egypt's prosecutor general named by President Mohamed Morsi only last month has handed in his resignation.
Talaat Abdullah submitted his resignation letter Monday, after hundreds of public prosecutors staged a sit-in protest outside his office, saying his swift appointment was improper.
President Morsi appointed Abdullah after issuing a decree on November 22 putting himself above judicial oversight. Prosecutors say only the Supreme Judicial Council can nominate a prosecutor general, so as to ensure a separation of powers.
If Abdullah's resignation is accepted, it will be a blow to the Islamist president who has been in a power struggle with the judiciary since last month.
Massive protests have forced the president to withdraw his decree, but he refused to cancel a referendum on a hastily drafted constitution. President Morsi claimed victory in the first round of the referendum December 15, but the opposition has accused his supporters of polling violations and is calling for new mass protests on Tuesday.
Germany says it has postponed debt relief for Egypt because of concerns that the government is sliding toward dictatorship.
Morsi's actions last month were hailed by his Islamist supporters, but they also triggered nationwide outrage among liberals and non-Muslims. The opposition called his decree a “coup,” and the judges described it as a direct attack on the independence of the judiciary.