Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Mohamed Morsi and the fight for Egypt

President Morsi says his power grab is temporary. But history shows that such measures have a habit of becoming permanent

in Cairo
The Guardian,
Egypt's muddled transition from dictatorship to democracy has entered a dangerous phase with the president and his Islamist supporters arrayed against the rest – each side claiming to be the true defender of democracy and the revolution. President Morsi says his controversial decree (euphemistically called "constitutional declaration") is only a provisional measure to defend the revolution and ensure a swift passage to democracy. And a presidential spokesman has now said that only decisions related to "sovereign matters" will be protected from judicial review. He may be sincere. But exceptional temporary measures in Egypt have a history of becoming permanent.....

Morsi and his supporters may be right in suspecting that old regime stalwarts within the administration are trying to thwart a transition to democracy. But they are equally guilty of pursuing a narrow Islamist agenda. The decision to protect the controversial constituent assembly – packed with Islamists and their supporters – from any legal challenge, seems to provide evidence for that. The Muslim Brotherhood and its allies feel they are entitled to draft a constitution to their liking, ignoring many well-founded legal and political arguments that such an important document should not be written by the winners of an election, but by representatives of a broad spectrum of Egyptian society....

The Muslim Brotherhood also bears part of the blame, because it supported that roadmap, thinking it would enable the Brotherhood to take power quickly. Things didn't turn out that way. And when existing laws stood in its way, it decided to change the rules to its advantage.

The scene is now set for a mighty confrontation as more and more judges and politicians line up against Morsi and his party. In fact, Morsi has succeeded in something no one else has: unifying the fractious liberal and leftist groups......."

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