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Presidency's supporters, opponents criticise resigned legal advisor

Mohamed Fouad Gadallah resigns after previous loyal support for president's controversial moves, as judiciary crisis continues

Ahram Online , Wednesday 24 Apr 2013
Fouad Gadallah
Egypt president's advisor for legal affairs Mohamed Fouad Gadallah (Photo: AO)
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Both supporters and opponents of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi criticised his former legal advisor Mohamed Fouad Gadallah after the latter's resignation on Tuesday.

Known for supporting the president through many controversial moves, Gadallah's departure was the latest in a long string of resignations by presidential aides, his being the twelfth so far out of seventeen original appointees.

Former deputy head of Egypt's High Constitutional Court (HCC) Tahani El-Gebaly, vilified by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist groups after an HCC ruling which led to the dissolution of the Islamist dominated lower house of parliament in 2012, said Gadallah's resignation will not redeem his previous encroachments on the judiciary.

El-Gebaly told Al-Ahram's Arabic website that Gadallah belonged to a group of apologists for the current ruling regime's actions. She said he took part in justifying actions by President Morsi taken against the judiciary and in contravention to the rule of law.

Gadallah stood by a controversial constitutional declaration issued by the president in November giving him sweeping powers and shielding his decisions from judicial overview. The declaration led to the resignation of many presidential aides and became a sore point in Morsi's term so far.

Despite this, the text of Gadallah's resignation included a claim he was aware of the implications of certain clauses in the declaration and worked early on to reverse them.

El-Gebaly said Gadallah tendered his resignation at a late stage but nevertheless sees his move as a sign of dissent from within the president's loyalists.

Similarly, Muslim Brotherhood member and high ranking member of their Freedom and Justice Party Mahmoud Amer criticised Gadallah's move.

Amer questioned the resignation on the television channel Al-Hayat Tuesday night, wondering why Gadallah stayed on the presidential team for months despite his announced misgivings about the presidency's performance.

Gadallah's resignation letter included a list of reasons he said justified his decision, many among them reflecting opposition grievances, such as calls to dismiss the Hisham Qandil-led government and closing the door on Iranian tourism – recently suspended again after a brief period of authorisation – saying Morsi was opening the door to Shiite influence in Egypt.

MP Safwat Abdel-Ghani, leading member of the Salafist Building and Development Party, the political arm of Egypt's Al-Gamaa Al-Islamiya group, also criticised Gadallah's decision.

In statements on the Egyptian channel Al-Mehwar, Abdel-Ghani said Gadallah's stated reasons for quitting don't make sense, and called for the "real" reasons to be made public.

He also said that Gadallah's resignation letter contains statements he used to distance himself from previous attacks against him.

Gadallah, who is also deputy head of Egypt's State Council, criticised what he said was the presidency's assault on the judiciary.

The presidency and judiciary have recently locked horns over a new judicial authority law which, if passed, would lead to the early retirement of over 3,000 judges – a move considered an attack on the judiciary and an attempt by the Brotherhood to control the judiciary.

An urgent general assembly by Egypt's Judges Club is to take place Wednesday to discuss the issue. Opposition forces called for protests at the headquarters of Egypt's Shura Council if the bill is discussed at its next session.

The presidency announced its acceptance of Gadallah's resignation in a press conference on Wednesday. The ex-advisor had also mentioned the absence of a vision for state administration and realisation of the revolution's goals as reasons for his exit.

Gadallah also gave a detailed account of the controversial legal decisions taken by Morsi and claimed his skepticism towards some and non-involvement in others. Gadallah maintained that he respected and trusted for the president, citing their positive relationship as a reason he delayed his resignation.

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