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Morsi's Sunday surprise met with broad support by Egypt political forces
Political figures and groups from across spectrum voice broad support for president's Sunday move against Egypt's military, albeit with reservations in some cases
Randa Ali and Sara Mourad, Monday 13 Aug 2012
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Mohammed Morsi
File photo: Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi opens his suit jacket to show to his supporters that he is not wearing body armor at Tahrir Square (Photo: AP)

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi's Sunday decision to retire the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF)'s Hussein Tantawi and Sami Anan, terminate the 18 June constitutional addendum, and appoint a new vice-president – reformist judge Mahmoud Mekki – has been broadly welcomed by most political forces and figures, albeit with reservations in some cases.

Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh, the former Muslim Brotherhood member who vied against Morsi in Egypt's recent presidential race, expressed satisfaction with the move, describing it as "a bona fide transfer of power to the president."

The SCAF's 18 June constitutional addendum had been widely seen as an attempt by the military to strip the president of several executive prerogatives.

"The revolution will always prevail," said Abul-Fotouh. "Our next battle will be for a constitution that preserves the rights of the people."

Former judge Mahmoud El-Khodeiry, for his part, head of the legislative committee in the People's Assembly (the lower house of Egypt's currently dissolved parliament), praised Morsi's decision to appoint Mekki as vice-president.

"We've been waiting for such decisions; we've been expecting them. I believe Mekki is a very good choice," El-Khodeiry said of the reformist judge. He added that Egypt's High Constitutional Court had "bet on a losing horse" when it had "favoured the SCAF" with its verdict in mid-June ruling parliament unconstitutional.

According to Mohamed Nour, spokesman for the Nour Party, the Salafist party "welcomes Morsi's decisions and expresses its gratitude" to both Tantawi and Anan for "the role they played in protecting the revolution."

Political science professor Hassan Nafaa, for his part, described the decisions as "surprising."

He added that, although the decisions appealed to revolutionaries and most political forces, "Morsi should nevertheless have consulted with other political forces when taking such crucial decisions, the same way he should have consulted them when forming the new government."

Nafaa also expressed fears that the Brotherhood would dominate all the country's state authorities.

"Morsi now has the power that SCAF previously had to form the Constituent Assembly [tasked with drafting a new constitution]," he said. "If the current assembly fails to draft the constitution for any reason, there's a possibility that the Constituent Assembly will actually face difficulties carrying out its mandate."

According to Morsi's Sunday Constitutional Declaration, if the assembly tasked with drafting the national charter fails to do so for whatever reason, the president will have the authority to draw up a new assembly – representing the full spectrum of Egyptian society – to draft a new constitution within three months of the new assembly's formation.

While many voiced objections to the SCAF's 18 June constitutional addendum, others – mostly anti-Islamists – welcomed it, seeing it as an obstacle to political domination by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Safwat Hegazi, secretary general of the Revolution's Board of Trustees (a pro-Brotherhood, pro-revolution group that emerged in the wake of last year's uprising), said that Morsi's decisions on Sunday did not imply that the Brotherhood planned to monopolise power, "only that the revolution's demands are on their way to being met."

"It's a way of finally purging the country of the remnants of the former regime and attaining democracy in Egypt," said the Salafist preacher, who had thrown his weight behind Morsi in the latter's presidential campaign.

Abdel-Ghaffar Shukr, spokesman for Egypt's Socialist Popular Alliance, saw the president's decision as the end of the ongoing "power paradox" between the presidency and the military.

"The decision shows that the president is exercising his authorities to their full extent, and that he is not tied down when it comes to decisions concerned with the military," Shukr said in a phone interview with Al-Jazeera.

Several revolutionary figures likewise hailed Morsi's Sunday decisions, yet remained sceptical as to their potential impact.

Mohamed Abul-Ghar, head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, said that the SCAF had lost its popularity among Egyptians due to its repeated failures during Egypt's post-Mubarak transitional period. "One of its main failures was that it did not produce a constitution first to save the country," he said.

"The problem now is that we don't have a constitution defining the president's powers, and we don't want a president that has all the powers that Mubarak did," Abul-Ghar added.

Ahmed Maher, co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement, declared on Twitter that he supported the annulment of the constitutional addendum and the retirement of the SCAF's two top men, but added that he still hoped to see them put on trial.

"These decisions demand our support," said Maher. "I believe this was what we asked for."

Prominent activist Asmaa Mahfouz echoed these sentiments, but criticised the "safe exit" the move would likely provide SCAF members.

"Our revolutionaries are more deserving of a safe exit," said Mahfouz, adding that the public should take to the streets to back Morsi's decision, but also to demand the trial of SCAF members.

Prominent television presenter Hamdi Qandil described Morsi's decision as a "civilian coup," which, he said, may have been staged to pre-empt a possible "military coup against Morsi planned for 24 August."

Anti-Brotherhood and anti-revolution figures have recently issued calls on social networking platforms urging the public to stage mass protests on 24 August against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to Qandil, now that Morsi holds full executive power, he can finally begin fulfilling his promises, "at the top of which is the reformation of the Constituent Assembly."

He added: "If the SCAF had really protected the revolution, Egyptians would have taken to the streets to demand that they be kept in their jobs."

While the two SCAF leaders will now go into retirement, they will also both be awarded state medals and made advisors to the president.

Meanwhile, hundreds have begun gathering in Cairo's Tahrir Square and the Presidential Palace in the capital's Heliopolis district to voice support for the president's decision following calls by the Muslim Brotherhood to do so.

Morsi began reshuffling officials in sensitive security positions following last week's attack near Egypt's border with the Gaza Strip that left 16 border guards dead at the hands of unknown assailants. The reshuffles included chief of general intelligence, head of the Cairo Security Directorate, head of Egypt's Republican Guards and the North Sinai governor.





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15



MPA
13-08-2012 04:09pm
4-
2+
No protests?
Interesting that there hasn't been any protests against him now that he has the power of Mubarak.
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najjar
20-08-2012 08:01am
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MPA - People hired Morsi fair and square, Mubarak was imposed by USrael
Now unless you are against People's Power and democracy, then all you have to do is let the man do his job and in few years you will have the chance and your God given right to kick him out and hire someone else. Democracy is nice but it has its inconvenience, doesn't it ?
Karim Hari
14-08-2012 07:46am
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6+
Elected
The difference is that he is an elected president.
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Hani Booz
13-08-2012 02:28pm
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A step in the right direction
The Military played an important role in the transitional period and we have to thank them for that.On the other hand you can not have a new president with incomplete authority.I wonder on the timing of the decisions. The Military have to do their original job to defend the country which was in recent weeks in tatter. I have not voted in the second round but I accept the majority this is democracy. We need to build our country we need younger military leaders.We do not want to go back to years of stagnation and the status quo.
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13



Neter
13-08-2012 02:19pm
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Let us hope that real democracy does come into being and not an Islamic oligarchy
There is no doubt that Democracy requires a civilian ruled state and in that regard this should be a welcomed move. However caution must be urged as the road ahead still has many obstacles. Democracy is a process not an overnight undertaking. Mr Morsi will only prove himself when there are clear signs of inclusive governance that tends to the needs of all Egyptians. His steps should be observed and monitored by all revolutionary parties to ensure lasting prosperity and peace. The Islamists in Iran started in exactly such a manner and knowing at heart that Shari'a and democracy are incompatible, I am intrigued as to how he will balance his Islamic ethics with the rule of law. Watch this space!
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12



Nazeer Ataullah
13-08-2012 01:26pm
2-
6+
Good Leader
I laud the leadership skill of President Mohammed Morsi. Looks with vision & wisdom.
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11



Ray Gibbs
13-08-2012 01:16pm
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People
have spoken through their "elected" leader (s).
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Michella Crawford
13-08-2012 05:13pm
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YES, they HAVE spoken
This had to happen or the revolution would have been for naught. Now Morsi can prove he is what he said, or he can prove otherwise, but he no longer has an excuse for not keeping his promises and SCAF had already proven that they would thwart his goals domestically, so now-it's on!
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Dr. Samir Radwan
13-08-2012 10:53am
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The right step towards stability and progress
Most of the Egyptian people have expressed their satisfaction and pleasure for the decisions which have been lastely made after a long period of anxiety and tension. We congratulate ourselves and the president in spite of the rage of secular people who deny all the religions revealed by Our God glorified be He . Dr.Hassan Nafaah who descieved us as moderate one unveiled his face which seemed ugly and hated. He contradited himself and deceives himself now Dr. prof, Samir Radwan
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9



ali
13-08-2012 09:37am
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akram
world will not foregive morsi for this mistake,,i wished never he did mistke, blood bath waits for egypt- egypt years has been secure,
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8



Bithika Noor
13-08-2012 07:54am
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Congratulation
I welcome and congratulate the President's decision.
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7



Bithika Noor
13-08-2012 07:43am
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Congratulation
I welcome and congratulate the President decision.
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6



Pak Karim
13-08-2012 07:21am
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Egypt is a democracy.
The speculations regarding the announcement of Mr Muhammad Mursi as winner of presidential election was a plot between MB and the military has now gone south.
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