Critics wonder if Morsy is Egypt’s next dictator, after power grab

Egyptians swarmed Cairo’s Tahrir Square Tuesday, seeking to revive a democratic groundswell that swept the country’s former strongman from power nearly two years ago and demand that the man they chose to replace him respect their wishes.

At least one protester died in early clashes with authorities ahead of the massive demonstrations planned for later Tuesday, the Ministry of Health said. The opposition Popular Alliance Party said the protester suffocated after inhaling excessive amounts of tear gas.

Protesters are angry with President Mohamed Morsy for his declaration last week that his edicts are beyond the reach of judges in what critics call an unprecedented power grab. A statement Monday night that seemed to at least partially limit the scope of the decree did not seem to salve their anger.

Protesters want to show that “the whole population of Egypt is against” Morsy and his supporters, said former Finance Minister Samir Radwan.

Morsy and his supporters in the powerful Muslim Brotherhood movement have defended the policy as necessary to defend the fragile Arab Spring revolution that pushed former President Hosni Mubarak from power and led to the country’s first free elections.

The Muslim Brotherhood scrapped its own demonstration to show support for Morsy — also scheduled for Tuesday — “to avoid any problems due to tension in the political arena,” said spokesman Mahmoud Ghozlan.

Morsy’s Freedom and Justice Party is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, the once-banned Islamist movement.

Tuesday’s opposition protests are expected to go ahead despite the clarification of the president’s edict.

Morsy “did not give himself judicial power” but did provide “immunity for his presidential decisions,” said Jihad Haddad, a senior adviser in the Freedom and Justice Party.

He added that “the president himself (is) not immune from judicial oversight,” though it wasn’t clear in what instances that would come into practice, or if there was anything preventing Morsy from issuing a new decree so this could not happen.

Morsy already has the powers of president and legislature after courts upheld the former ruling military council’s decision to dissolve parliament. But it was his edict last week — declaring, among other things, that judges can’t overturn his decisions or interfere with a Muslim Brotherhood-dominated council writing a new constitution — that caused anger to boil over.

Morsy insists he’s trying to protect Egypt’s fragile Arab Spring revolution, not accumulate unchecked power. His moves “cemented the process that would create the institutions that would limit his power, define the constitution and have parliamentary elections so that we can say this is a democracy,” said Haddad.

Edict divides Egypt, unifies opponents

But that’s not how his political foes — seen as “heretics” by many members of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Washington Institute for Near East Policy fellow Eric Trager — look at the situation.

Former U.S. diplomat Jamie Rubin said Morsy’s edict “brings to mind all the fears that people in that part of the world have had about the Muslim Brotherhood when it comes to democracy.”

Amr Hamzawy, who’d been in the now-dissolved parliament, said action is needed to prevent more “suffering” under a president with “sweeping powers,” as Egypt had for 60 years under men like Mubarak, Anwar Sadat and Gamal Nasser.

“Morsy is the … president who has sweeping executive (power), sweeping legislative (power) and … puts himself above the judicial branch of government,” said Hamzawy, founder of Egypt’s Freedom Party. “That is a very dangerous mix, which can only lead to a dictatorship.”

Intent on not letting that happen, people around the country have staged protests and stormed Muslim Brotherhood offices over the past six days — sometimes with violent results, with hundreds being reported injured and one killed in confrontations with security forces and Morsy’s backers.

 

  • Hannibal

    You wished for change… Well you got change in a different dictator… It is not change of regimes that is needed but a change of culture which dates back to the days of jahiliya.

    • Mahdi Kenaani

      you wish for change in syria.. well you will get change in a different dictator.. 

      • nagy_michael2

        Yes the dictator who brutally bombed and his thugs killed and tortured many lebanese and now syrians. if this dictator is friends with you then you can side with him all you like. but he is a dictator and I doubt another dictator in syria would do close to what he is done in Lebanon. if you believe that this guy is a friend of lebanon and Syrian regime than and even now is not an enemy of Lebanon. Then you are a traitor as much as those who regard israel is friendly nation to Lebanon.

        • Mahdi Kenaani

          shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i wasnt talking to you!

  • Hannibal

    You wished for change… Well you got change in a different dictator… It is not change of regimes that is needed but a change of culture which dates back to the days of jahiliya.

    • Mahdi Kenaani

      you wish for change in syria.. well you will get change in a different dictator.. 

      • nagy_michael2

        Yes the dictator who brutally bombed and his thugs killed and tortured many lebanese and now syrians. if this dictator is friends with you then you can side with him all you like. but he is a dictator and I doubt another dictator in syria would do close to what he is done in Lebanon. if you believe that this guy is a friend of lebanon and Syrian regime than and even now is not an enemy of Lebanon. Then you are a traitor as much as those who regard israel is friendly nation to Lebanon.

        • Mahdi Kenaani

          shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i wasnt talking to you!

  • JS_Bach

    Here are my thoughts on this. My initial reaction to Morsy’s measures was Here we go again. But my thinking evolved over the last few days. I would now say: Give the guy a chance. He’s making a good case for the measures. If he doesn’t follow through on his stated plan and intentions in just a few months, well, then by all means riot and revolt again. But you already revolted and you put this guy in power. Now let him do what you hired him to do. You let Mubarak rule unobstructed for 30 years. What’s another few months?

    Consider what happened in Lebanon after the 2005 revolution. Yes, the prior regime was removed from power in the limelight, but it remained very much in power in the shadows—which is even more powerful and dangerous than being  in official power. That practically hindered every little move that the revolution (M14) attempted to do, from minor fiscal reforms to much broader and bolder attempted brush strokes. Everything was obstructed, damaged and reversed and eventually collapsed in utter failure when the shadow regime toppled the government and grabbed official power again. Had the revolution managed to have unobstructed power temporarily, it might have been able to put some reforms in place to ensure democratic continuity. You cannot possibly implement change in a paralyzed system.

    Please don’t turn this into a M8/M14 f*ck-fest. I don’t give a crap about either one. I’m simply speaking from a historical perspective which you can apply to any revolution that was able to bring about change in any direction—from the Bolshevik revolution to the French revolution.

    My two cents.

    • 5thDrawer

      Not bad, Bach … fair analysis … it’s the people who need to change, and be led into that change – after a long age of being stifled – by someone willing to NOT have all the ‘power’. Comparing them to the peasants of Russia or France is not far off course.
      There will be more of a problem with those who expect instant change, in an age of twittering Twits, – as they do in Jordan at the moment – but those are not the majority thinkers in either case. It’s a long road to get past ‘the believers’ of ancient ways of living.

    • libnan1

       Ohhh  f*ck-fest is an awesome thing as long as there are some hot looking chicks.

      • nagy_michael2

        you’re one horny goat..

        • libnan1

          Yeah nagy, I’m on the horny side. I like Lebanese girls M8 or M14, it doesn’t matter. They yell “yah moma” I guess they want their mama to join them … while American girls yell” Oh my God” what do Colombian girl say? … yu should know, maybe. 

      • Prophettttt

        Colombian girls say:chocha or coño.lol

      • nagy_michael2

        ya libnan1 one the columbian girls say to me what a studd.. unless those orange tweeties their peepees are too small.. I can’t find them i have to use tweezers lol.

  • JS_Bach

    Here are my thoughts on this. My initial reaction to Morsy’s measures was Here we go again. But my thinking evolved over the last few days. I would now say: Give the guy a chance. He’s making a good case for the measures. If he doesn’t follow through on his stated plan and intentions in just a few months, well, then go right ahead and riot and revolt again. But you already revolted and you put this guy in power. Now let him do what you hired him to do. You let Mubarak rule unobstructed for 30 years. What’s another few months?

    Consider what happened in Lebanon after the 2005 revolution. Yes, the prior regime was removed from power in the limelight, but it remained very much in power in the shadows—which is even more powerful and dangerous than being  in official power. That practically hindered every little move that the revolution (M14) attempted to do, from minor fiscal reforms to much broader and bolder attempted brush strokes. Everything was obstructed, damaged and reversed and eventually collapsed in utter failure when the shadow regime toppled the government and grabbed official power again. Had the revolution managed to have unobstructed power temporarily, it might have been able to put some reforms in place to ensure democratic continuity. You cannot possibly implement change in a paralyzed system.

    Please don’t turn this into a M8/M14 f*ck-fest. I don’t give a crap about either one. I’m simply speaking from a historical perspective which you can apply to any revolution that was able to bring change in any direction—from the Bolshevik revolution to the French revolution.

    My two cents.

    • 5thDrawer

      Not bad, Bach … fair analysis … it’s the people who need to change, and be led into that change – after a long age of being stifled – by someone willing to NOT have all the ‘power’. Comparing them to the peasants of Russia or France is not far off course.
      There will be more of a problem with those who expect instant change, in an age of twittering Twits, – as they do in Jordan at the moment – but those are not the majority thinkers in either case. It’s a long road to get past ‘the believers’ of ancient ways of living.

    • libnan1

       Ohhh  f*ck-fest is an awesome thing as long as there are some hot looking chicks.

      • nagy_michael2

        you’re one horny goat..

        • libnan1

          Yeah nagy, I’m on the horny side. I like Lebanese girls M8 or M14, it doesn’t matter. They yell “yah moma” I guess they want their mama to join them … while American girls yell” Oh my God” what do Colombian girl say? … yu should know, maybe. 

      • Prophettttt

        Colombian girls say;coño.lol

      • nagy_michael2

        ya libnan1 one the columbian girls say to me what a studd.. unless those orange tweeties their peepees are too small.. I can’t find them i have to use tweezers lol.

  • Btru2u

    suddenly the judicial sysytem of Egypt has a brave face and are holier than all thou dictators.

  • Btru2u

    suddenly the judicial sysytem of Egypt has a brave face and are holier than all thou dictators.

  • dateam

    surely there are more important things and priorities in egypt now? namely the economy? dosen’t he have the majority in parliament? surely thats enough to give him the coverage he needs?

  • dateam

    surely there are more important things and priorities in egypt now? namely the economy? dosen’t he have the majority in parliament? surely thats enough to give him the coverage he needs?

  • Fauzia45

    It is not easy to  have a democracy!It needs a different education ,a different way of thinking and behaving?Where are the thinkers,men of ideas who believe in real change ,They have to pave the way that leads to democracy!!How can one expect democratic rule by authoritarians !

    • 5thDrawer

      They were never allowed to speak freely, Fauzia. Or be read either.

  • Fauzia45

    It is not easy to  have a democracy!It needs a different education ,a different way of thinking and behaving?Where are the thinkers,men of ideas who believe in real change ,They have to pave the way that leads to democracy!!How can one expect democratic rule by authoritarians !

    • 5thDrawer

      They were never allowed to speak freely, Fauzia. Or be read either.

  • Mahdi Kenaani

    the same thing will happen IF the syrian president falls… 

    • nagy_michael2

      Then Nassrallah will follow and Aoun will be tweeting from his bunkers..

      • Mahdi Kenaani

        once again: shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i wasnt talking to you!

        • FreetheME

          Mahdi, some people just can not take a hint brother. Might have to do with their intelligence level.

        • nagy_michael2

          Sorry I forgot you speak that you only speak Fartzi..

        • nagy_michael2

          Mahdi since you guys are so dumb that you have to beat yourself with swords and knives and sticks in order to mourn someone who died the 400 BC.. what can I say that says a lot about your stupidity.

  • Mahdi Kenaani

    the same thing will happen IF the syrian president falls… 

    • nagy_michael2

      Then Nassrallah will follow and Aoun will be tweeting from his bunkers..

      • Mahdi Kenaani

        once again: shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh i wasnt talking to you!

        • FreetheME

          Mahdi, some people just can not take a hint brother. Might have to do with their intelligence level.

        • nagy_michael2

          Sorry I forgot you speak that you only speak Fartzi..

        • nagy_michael2

          Mahdi since you guys are so dumb that you have to beat yourself with swords and knives and sticks in order to mourn someone who died the 400 BC.. what can I say that says a lot about your stupidity.

  • Prophettttt

    As controversial as Mursi’s declaration of power grabbing is, The alliance between the revolutionary groups that toppled Mubarak,and the remains of Mubarak’s regime does not seem normal. If both groups found their dislike of the Muslim brotherhood a common factor, they  will  clash eventually regardless how this crises ends.Eventually they will learn that politicians lie,and that they play on people’s emotions and fears to reach power.Just ask the Lebanese people,they will tell you.
    What I don’t understand is why can’t an elected president remove the prosecutor general who took his job during the Mubarak era and is unpopular among reformists of all stripes. I can understand if a prosecutor is elected by the people,and a president is removing him/her,but not if He or She is appointed by a dictator who was toppled and being prosecuted by the his own appointee.
    I think that Egyptians are learning what it is like to have a political process. For tens of years, they had no political life,and I ‘d say to them;welcome to freedom and democracy. I don’t view all this as negative.They just have to get used a process that allows everyone to speak out,and get involved.In democracies, there will always be a power struggle,and people will learn that not every decision by a president will trigger a revolution. Egyptian people will have many disappointments because they believed that removing Mubarak will solve all of their problems  immediately. They don’t realize that the country and the society  lacks the tools to change things.
     I hope I’m not misunderstood as being supportive of Mursi’s deceleration. I think once a constitution is put in place,and a new electoral system is found, a new parliament will have a veto power over the president’s decisions.

    • 5thDrawer

      Well, you’re hoping, Prophet. And yes, in a place with 25% illiteracy, not many understand or ever  experienced any democratic political process – which involves freedom of speech and thought as well.
      To make it an instant change, they would need to import a constitution from some other ‘favourite democracy’ somewhere and instantly apply all it’s rules. Did Morsy think that was possible if he oversaw implementing the whole thing? And thus felt he needed absolute power to be so ‘benevolent’, since the tools are not in place?
      Can’t change the economic conditions that fast – and that is what ‘the people’, all over the world, relate to largely. And the ‘blame-game’ increases exponentially.

      • Prophettttt

        If I were an Egyptian, I would demand that every one who seeks a public office,everyone in a mid-level management official and higher, to take a civic education program  .These programs should be mandatory  in schools,where young people learn about democracy,social and political rights, voter education ,and freedom of expression ,and the rights of those who are on the opposite sides.People have to learn about political participation and the possibility of loosing to the other side,and respect the results of elections.
        An entire society needs to be educated about democracy and its rules,about freedom and its purpose and limitations, free speech and its true implications. 
        But again I make these same recommendation to Lebanese people and their leaders and officials,because we need them too.

  • Prophettttt

    As controversial as Mursi’s declaration of power grabbing is, The alliance between the revolutionary groups that toppled Mubarak,and the remains of Mubarak’s regime does not seem normal. If both groups found their dislike of the Muslim brotherhood a common factor, they  will  clash eventually regardless how this crises ends.Eventually they will learn that politicians lie,and that they play on people’s emotions and fears to reach power.Just ask the Lebanese people,they will tell you.
    What I don’t understand is why can’t an elected president remove the prosecutor general who took his job during the Mubarak era and is unpopular among reformists of all stripes. I can understand if a prosecutor is elected by the people,and a president is removing him/her,but not if He or She is appointed by a dictator who was toppled and being prosecuted by the his own appointee.
    I think that Egyptians are learning what it is like to have a political process. For tens of years, they had no political life,and I ‘d say to them;welcome to freedom and democracy. I don’t view all this as negative.They just have to get used a process that allows everyone to speak out,and get involved.In democracies, there will always be a power struggle,and people will learn that not every decision by a president will trigger a revolution. Egyptian people will have many disappointments because they believed that removing Mubarak will solve all of their problems  immediately. They don’t realize that the country and the society  lacks the tools to change things.
     I hope I’m not misunderstood as being supportive of Mursi’s deceleration. I think once a constitution is put in place,and a new electoral system is found, a new parliament will have a veto power over the president’s decisions.

    • 5thDrawer

      Well, you’re hoping, Prophet. And yes, in a place with 25% illiteracy, not many understand or ever  experienced any democratic political process – which involves freedom of speech and thought as well.
      To make it an instant change, they would need to import a constitution from some other ‘favourite democracy’ somewhere and instantly apply all it’s rules. Did Morsy think that was possible if he oversaw implementing the whole thing? And thus felt he needed absolute power to be so ‘benevolent’, since the tools are not in place?
      Can’t change the economic conditions that fast – and that is what ‘the people’, all over the world, relate to largely. And the ‘blame-game’ increases exponentially.

      • Prophettttt

        If I were an Egyptian, I would demand that every one who seeks a public office,everyone in a mid-level management official and higher, to take a civic education program  .These programs should be mandatory  in schools,where young people learn about democracy,social and political rights, voter education ,and freedom of expression ,and the rights of those who are on the opposite sides.People have to learn about political participation and the possibility of loosing to the other side,and respect the results of elections.
        An entire society needs to be educated about democracy and its rules,about freedom and its purpose and limitations, free speech and its true implications. 
        But again I make these same recommendation to Lebanese people and their leaders and officials,because we need them too.