Morsi and his plans for Egypt
Added on December 4, 2012
Egypt's senior judges have
decided to monitor the election, overriding the possible referendum boycott
announced by some judges.
Added on December 3, 2012
The project for a new
constitution has been adopted early on November 30, 2012. 85 of the 100
members of the Constitutional Assembly voted for it. 11 lawmakers who had
left the assembly where replaced by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and
the Salafists. Anyway, the religious party members would have had a majority
to pass the constitutional draft. The Egyptian voters will decide on its
adoption on December 15, 2012.
Some judges have already announced that they will not exercise their duty on
December 15. They refuse to monitor the election. Can the constitutional
referendum be held? Will it be validated or contested by the constitutional
court or other judges? Will the losers of the referendum respect the
outcome? Will free and fair parliamentary elections take place again early
Egypt needs stability, the rule of law and the respect of the will of the
majority. Egypt needs a democracy which does not turn into the tyranny of
the majority; the majority has to respect all minorities and their rights.
Article added on November 29, 2012 at 20:13 Egyptian time
Last week, the Egyptian President Morsi (aka
Morsy) successfully brokered a cease-fire between Israel and
aka the Gaza Strip; incidentally, Hamas aka the Islamic Resistance Movement
was originally an off-shot of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.
President Morsi also seemed to have come to an agreement with Egypt's
military leaders. Their partial funding through United States military aid
of yearly $1.3 billion seemed assured. The IMF also seemed ready to give
Egypt a desperately needed $4.8 billion loan.
With those accomplishments in consolidating his power in the back and his
new standing as the regional leader thanks to the brokered
cease-fire, President Morsi seemed to have suffered a sudden attack of
Caesar's madness. He issued a Constitutional Declaration consisting of seven
articles (check below), which conveyed to him
“Pharaonic” powers, as some critics said and wrote. In addition, Morsi fired
Egypt's top prosecutor.
With his presidential decrees, President Morsi put himself above the
judiciary. Critics pointed out that Morsi had abolished the separation of
power. Morsi and his aids quickly said that the decrees would only remain in
power until a new constitution was adopted and a new parliament was elected.
Morsi gave the Constitutional Assembly additional three months until
February 2013 to adopt a new Constitution.
After some 200,000 opponents gathered in Tharir Square on November 27, 2012
and asked President Morsi to backtrack and/or to step down, Morsi chose to
accelerate things. On the evening of November 27, 2012 Morsi's adviser Essam
El-Erian outlined the president's new plans for Egypt on CNN in an
interview with Christiane Amanpour.
Essam El-Erian told Christiane Amanpour live on television that the new
constitution would be finalized the same day and adopted the following day,
that is today, November 29, 2012. Within two weeks, the Egyptian people
would be allowed to vote on it in a national referendum. Furthermore, Essam
El-Erian made clear that President Mori's extraordinary new powers would end
with the adoption of the new constitution in two weeks.
On CNN, Essam El-Erian also assured Christiane Amanpour that the new
Egyptian constitution would guarantee women's rights and minority rights. He
said that the Sharia would not be introduced in Egypt; the constitutional
reference to the Sharia would be the same as in
Egypt's 1971 constitution.
Morsi a new pharaoh?
It is evident that Morsi's Constitutional Declaration goes beyond what is
acceptable in a democracy. But the fault is not solely in the president's
corner. Many Egyptian judges as well as
Egypt's top prosecutor were creatures of the old Mubarak regime. Many -
although not all - of them tried to obstruct the peaceful transition towards
democracy and/or tried to protect Mubarak cronies, corrupt and criminal
behavior before and during the 2011/12 revolution in Egypt.
Egyptian judges had already ruled that the lower house of parliament had not
been elected properly and had to be dissolved. The judges were about the
declare the same regarding the Constitutional Assembly,
which is unfortunately dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. Most women,
moderate and liberal members of the Constitutional Assembly had resigned in
protest over the Muslim Brotherhood imposing its agenda in the drafting of
the new constitution. In total, 22 of the 100 lawmakers of the
Constitutional Assembly had at least temporarily resigned from the lawmaking
It is also true that the Muslim Brotherhood has tried to grab more and more
power, for instance imposing members of their movement or people close to it
as newspaper editors. Morsi has broken some promises. He has neither
appointed a woman nor a Copt as his vice-presidents. One can come to the
conclusion that the presidential decrees and the rush towards the adoption
of a new constitution are just steps towards the establishment of a regime
with absolute power by President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Indeed,
Morsi and his party seem to have adopted
“salami tactics”, grab power slice by
slice. However, the jury can only be out after a closer look at the new
constitution and after the next parliamentary elections.
Currently, the Constitutional Assembly has began voting on Egypt's new
constitution. If everything goes according to Morsi's new plan, the Egyptian
voters could pronounce themselves on the matter in two weeks already.
It would be best for Egypt to continue the power struggle not in the streets
of Cairo and elsewhere but in a democratic voting process. Voters should
decide on the new constitution and will be able to elect a new parliament
within a few months. As long as the Egyptian people can freely decide who
will govern them and how, in which framework, high hopes for the
establishment of a fully-functioning democracy in Egypt remain intact.
The best that has happened thanks to Morsi's seven famous decrees is the
unification of the opposition. Let's hope that the liberals, moderates and
true democrats will work together in the next parliamentary election too.
Books about Egypt from Amazon.com, Amazon.de
The seven articles of President Morsi's famous Constitutional Declaration
issued on November 22, 2012 as translated by Al Ahram:
investigations and prosecutions in the cases of the
murder, the attempted murder and the wounding of
protesters as well as the crimes of terror committed
against the revolutionaries by anyone who held a
political or executive position under the former
regime, according to the Law of the Protection of
the Revolution and other laws.
constitutional declarations, laws, and decrees made
by the president since he took office on 30 June
2012, until the constitution is approved and a new
People’s Assembly [lower house of parliament] is
elected, are final and binding and cannot be
appealed by any way or to any entity. Nor shall they
be suspended or canceled and all lawsuits related to
them and brought before any judicial body against
these decisions are annulled.
prosecutor-general is to be appointed from among the
members of the judiciary by the President of the
Republic for a period of four years commencing from
the date of office and is subject to the general
conditions of being appointed as a judge and should
not be under the age of 40. This provision applies
to the one currently holding the position with
The text of the
article on the formation of the Constituent Assembly
in the 30 March 2011 Constitutional Declaration that
reads, "it shall prepare a draft of a new
constitution in a period of six months from the date
it was formed” is to be amended to "it shall prepare
the draft of a new constitution for the country no
later than eight months from the date of its
No judicial body can
dissolve the Shura Council [upper house of
parliament] or the Constituent Assembly.
The President may take the necessary actions and
measures to protect the country and the goals of the
Declaration is valid from the date of its
publication in the official gazette.