Reality checks in as President Morsy settles down to workBy DALLIA MONIEM in Cairo | Monday, July 16 2012 at 09:54
Less than a month into his presidency, Egypt's Mohamed Morsy is finally coming to terms with his duties.
With the Higher Constitutional Court (HCC) rejecting the presidential decree that reinstated the dissolved parliament and the country's top judges insisting the ruling that led to the military action remains valid; the result is continuing political struggle between Morsy and Scaf that is likely to further political struggle.
A few days before the winner of the presidential election was declared the HCC announced that part of the parliamentary electoral process was unconstitutional as one-third of the lower houses seats designated for independents were occupied by party representatives. The court's recommendation was the dissolution of parliament which SCAF, as the executive body at the time, immediately put into effect by decreeing the closure of the Peoples Assembly and even barring MP's from entering. Following the courts decision SCAF announced the interim constitutional declaration which in essence restored all legislative power back to the military council until a new parliament was elected.
Undoubtedly, President Morsi's action can be viewed as nothing more then his, or the Muslim Brotherhood's, way of wrestling power back from the army.
There is a sharp political, social and legal schism regarding President Morsy's decision, whether it was legal or not; the right move to make or not, especially as there still remains a number of issues that must be dealt with and which have the shadow of Scaf hanging over them – the Constitutional Declaration being one of them.
Nobel Laureate Dr Mohamed El Baradei and co-founder of the Constitution Party has called for a meeting between President Morsy, the Supreme Council and parliamentary representatives in order to resolve the political crisis that has erupted. While Hamdeen Sabbahi, the former presidential candidate, has put forward six proposals which he believes will solve the political crisis the country is currently facing.
El Baradei emphasised the solution to the political malaise must be both political and legal. "National conscience requires an immediate assembly of the president, parliament representatives and the military council, to reach a political and legal solution, that saves Egypt from explosion", he posted on his Twitter account. Furthermore, he called on the President, SCAF, “civil forces” and the judiciary to agree on a new addendum to the Constitutional Declaration and outlined four points he believes are essential: the formation of a new constituent assembly entrusted to draft "democratic constitution that guarantees rights and freedoms,”; "transferring the legislative authority to the Constituent Assembly,"; the formation of a National Defence Council that would be headed by both the president and the supreme commander of the armed forces and lastly “intervention and participation of the Armed Forces in maintaining peace inside the country as well protecting the nation internationally, as determined by the National Defense Council.”
The presidential office was at pains to reiterate it's respect for the “constitution, the judiciary and judicial rulings” in a statement released on Wednesday adding it was "committed to the rulings of Egyptian judges and very keen to manage state powers and prevent any confrontation. There will be consultations among all political forces, institutions and the supreme council of judicial authorities to find the best way out of this situation in order to overcome this stage together.”
Nonetheless there is political unease as to what the next steps will be. According to a number of analysts speaking to Al Ahram a “dangerous new phase” has been entered “With a Brotherhood-affiliated president, a constitutional addendum that the Brotherhood refuses to recognise, and a dissolved lower house of parliament, the looming battle will likely be fought in Egypt's high courts.”
According to one of the members of the committee charged with the drafting of post-revolution constitutional amendments “Morsy’s decree reinstating parliament represented a "violation" of the constitutional addendum issued by the military council last month, rather than a violation of the HCC verdict.” Furthermore, the July 8th presidential decree did not recognise Scaf's June 17th Constitutional Declaration especially as it included the addendum that elections for the lower house of parliament were to be held 30 days after a new constitution is ratified which the President Morsy's decree changed to 60 days.
In essence President Morsy's move was more of a political one – to wrestle back legislative authority from the military council. Whether this signals the beginning of a tug-of-war between him and SCAF remains unclear as does who will end up with the law-making powers thereby ensuring a continuation of political power brokerage by the two sides.
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