Report cites host of May 'failures' on part of Egypt presidency

Ahram Online , Thursday 6 Jun 2013

'Democracy Index' issued this week by Cairo-based International Development Centre cites last month's 'failures' by Morsi administration, including latter's handling of Sinai and Nile files

The Cairo-based International Development Centre issued a 'Democracy Index' in early June assessing the Egyptian presidency's performance throughout the month of May, highlighting the latter's "failure" to manage crises.

The index claims to measure President Mohamed Morsi's performance in a range of categories, including statements and promises, activities and meetings, and presidential decrees.

In the area of crisis management, the report listed several "failures" by the presidency, especially in regard to last month's kidnapping of Egyptian soldiers in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and the ongoing Nile crisis with Ethiopia.

"The presidency failed to act quickly at the beginning of the Egyptian soldiers' kidnapping in Sinai," the report asserts, going on to criticise the fact that Morsi had been the first Egyptian president to call for the safety of both kidnapped and kidnappers alike.

The latter decision received condemnation from much of the Egyptian public, who believe the wellbeing of kidnapped soldiers should have been the president's primary concern.

The president also "showed confusion" in his management of the ongoing Nile crisis, according to the index. For example, Morsi failed to take immediate diplomatic steps to address the issue, such as summoning the Ethiopian ambassador or the ambassadors of those countries financing Ethiopia's Renaissance Dam project.

The report also points to "contradictions" in Morsi's domestic policies, stating: "The statements and promises of the president in May reflected a contradiction in that the president promised to raise the standard of living for workers, yet, in the same month, approved a new taxation law."

The report also notes that the president did not issue many presidential decrees in May.

"Among the few presidential decrees issued in May was the decision to draw up a legal consulting committee to advise in constitutional affairs," the report asserts, adding that the decision had contrasted sharply with the demands of the Egyptian street.

The report also mentions the presidential budget, which, taken out of the overall state budget, covers presidential expenses.

According to the report, the presidential budget saw a LE78 million increase since the 2011 ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak. The increase, the report states, came "without justification" by the presidency despite Egypt's ongoing economic crisis.

In May, President Morsi did not attend an Easter Mass held by newly-elected Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros II, nor did he send any representatives on his behalf. Rather, the report emphasises, he simply contacted Pope Tawadros by telephone.

The report also questioned the presidency's practice of sending costly presidential delegations abroad to prepare for Morsi's international trips, rather than relying on Egypt's existing diplomatic missions overseas.

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