BUOYED up by his success in effecting a ceasefire in Gaza, President Mohamed Morsi has acted the wrong way — he has given himself sweeping powers in a move that the opposition calls “a coup against legitimacy”. The new decree issued on Thursday says decisions taken by the president cannot be overturned by any authority, including the courts. This negates the very spirit of the Arab Spring. Already, the president had enormous powers, because there is no legislature and he himself makes the laws. By pre-empting a judicial review of his actions, the president has armed himself with absolute powers. No wonder opposition leaders, who include such names as former Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, allege that the president has anointed himself “Egypt’s new pharaoh”. More menacingly, there is a hint of witch-hunting in his moves, because he has decided to reopen Hosni Mubarak’s trial and sacked chief prosecutor Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, a Mubarak loyalist. The charge against him was that he failed to secure adequate punishments for pro-Mubarak demonstrators who had attacked the security forces. He had earlier withdrawn his decision to fire Mr Mahmoud under pressure from Egypt’s powerful legal fraternity.

An acute and dangerous polarisation could grip Egypt, because Muslim Brotherhood activists have demonstrated in the decree’s favour, while the opposition has begun street protests and attacked Muslim Brotherhood offices. On Thursday, shortly after the decree was announced, Muslim Brotherhood activists staged demonstrations in front of the main court building, demanding that the judiciary be “purified”. This is a disturbing development. Unless such demands for purges are discouraged in time, the country could head towards authoritarianism. At present, Egypt has no parliament, and a Brotherhood-dominated assembly is still drafting a new constitution. The absence of any constitutional and legal checks on a head of state who already wields executive and legislative powers could throttle democracy, strengthen totalitarian tendencies and dash the populist hopes for which the people of Egypt had launched a valiant struggle against a despotic regime. As an opposition leader said, the anti Mubarak stir was not launched “in search of a benign dictator”.

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Comments (12)

Sakina Qamar (@SakinaQamar)
November 24, 2012 9:39 am
Well, this goes to prove once again that a Muslim man can never not abuse power. When will we learn that democracy, total accountability and secularism are the tools to prosperity? Without the absence of any one of them, you'll always be on the path of destruction, like we all are right now.
Shahid
November 25, 2012 7:59 am
No wonder muslims are in this state of affairs the world over. Some how our leaders wheather from military, kings or so called democrats cant stomach the power they get and immediately set out to entrench themselves as absolute rulers. They forget absolute is Allah Almighty only and the likes of Qaddafi, Mubarak, Zia ul Hq, ZA Bhutto have met a sorrow fate. May Allah bless us with the wisdom to acknowledge that absolute power lies with Allah and the ruler is only menat to work for the betterment of his people.
Shah
November 25, 2012 6:00 pm
Morsi?s current decree is aimed towards protecting the revolution. One should not forget that he has assumed this authority till the formation of new parliament. Supreme judicial counsel, which was formed by Husni Mubarak, has already dissolved a parliament and Egypt can not afford another coup on the constitution making process undertaken by Morsi, for it would further prolong the transition. When an army dictator grab all powers from an elected premier it is never titled as a coup, then why an elected president, who came after a long dictatorship and revolution is accused of coup ?
Vigilant
November 24, 2012 8:49 am
Trading one dictator for another
ahmed41
November 24, 2012 6:07 am
EGYPT~~~~~~~~~from the frying pan into the fire. No genuine democratic spirit in the Arab SPRING
Aj
November 25, 2012 9:11 am
Give him some time and at least let him frame the constitution.i believe he will make a constitution on the basis of sharia (some call it talibanisation or whatever)
ahsan
November 24, 2012 8:56 am
Taliban, Pasdaran, Brotherhood...No mullah is different from any other.......never ever trust them with power..or for that matter, with anything
Aj
November 25, 2012 9:20 am
may i know what kind of powers does an american president enjoy???
gfellow
November 24, 2012 4:13 pm
True colors of muslim brotherhood now are coming forward. This is what everybody was afriad of
Aamir
November 24, 2012 1:48 pm
I can see a Zia ul Haq comming up in Egypt with a "trust me I promise thee......"
kanchis93
November 24, 2012 5:56 am
Any time the powers of the state are concentrated in one or a few individuals, the powers that be playing the great game will be tempted to influence and control such people. Sadly, one can say that Egypt is the loser here.
kanchi
November 24, 2012 5:53 am
Any time the powers of the state are concentrated in one or a few individuals, it will be tempting for the powers playing the great game to influence and control such powerful individuals for the benefit of the powers. sadly one can say Egypt is the loser here.
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