Morsi's advisory team less diverse after months of walkouts
Morsi's presidential team is half its original size after 7 months; half of the remaining 10 are Brotherhood members
Ahram Online, Tuesday 19 Feb 2013
Egypt's president Mohamed Morsi (Photo: AP)
After seven months, Mohamed Morsi's presidential advisory team has lost 11 out of its 21 members, primarily because of resignations. The majority of the remaining members are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
The team of advisors and consultants, once described by the presidenial spokesman as comprising "different colours of the political spectrum" was initially formed of seven members of the Muslim Brotherhood, three Salafists, three other Islamists and eight liberal and independent national figures.
The walkouts were primarily provoked by the president's controversial constitutional decree, issued on 22 November. Samir Marcos, a Coptic Orthodox scholar, prominent poet Farouk Goweida, and Sekina Fouad, a veteran writer and journalist all resigned after this decree which increased the president's powers and was perceived by critics as a threat to judicial independence.
Last November it was also reported that Islamic thinker and former presidential candidate Selim El-Awa had resigned from his post as a presidential consultant. El-Awa, however, responded that he was never appointed and therefore couldn't resign.
As clashes intensified on the streets demanding the termination of the decree on 5 December last year, presidential aide Ayman El-Sayad, a veteran journalist, Amr El-Leithi, a TV anchor, Mohamed Seif El-Dawla, a Nasserist political analyst, and Seif Abdel-Fatah, a political science professor, all resigned their positions.
Presidential advisor and then-leading member of the Freedom and Justice Party Rafiq Habib, who is a Coptic Christian, announced his resignation on 6 December after bloody clashes took place at the presidential palace in Heliopolis, with supporters of the president allegedly attacking a peaceful sit-in by anti-Morsi opponents. The clashes left at least six dead.
Later in January, Essam El-Erian, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood and vice-chairman of the group's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), resigned from his position as presidential advisor after he was appointed head of the FJP's bloc in the Shura Council.
El-Erian, the second Brotherhood member to resign from the presidential team, clarified that his decision was an attempt to avoid any "conflict of interest" between his new appointment and his presidential post.
Last Sunday, a presidential advisor was sacked for the first time. Khaled Alam El-Din, a leading member of the Salafist Nour Party, protested claims that he was let go because he had "used his post in the presidency for personal gain."
Protesting El-Din's "offensive dismissal" was fellow Nour Party member and advisor to the president Bassam El-Zarqa, who announced his resignation on Monday in a press conference held by the party to clarify the dismissal of El-Din.
The resignations leave Morsi's team with no Coptic advisors, and no members of the Nour Party, the party which came second in parliamentary elections in 2012 after the Muslim Brotherhood's FJP.
Remaining members include Emad Abdel-Ghafour, chairman of the Salafist Watan Party, two liberal/independent national figures, Emad El-Din Seif Abdullah and Mohamed Fouad Gadallah, two Islamist-leaning figures, Pakinam El-Sharkawi and Ahmed Omran, and five members of the Muslim Brotherhood.