Egypt's new Brotherhood governors meet criticism nationwide

Ahram Online , Monday 17 Jun 2013

Following Morsi's appointment of seven Muslim Brotherhood affiliates to governor positions, criticism raised across Egypt political spectrum

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (Photo: AP)

Hours after President Mohamed Morsi announced 17 new governor appointments, discontent was expressed nationwide due to the fact many of the new appointees are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, the group from which the president hails.

Following the swearing-in early Monday, 11 of Egypt's 27 governorates are now headed by Brotherhood members.  Nine others have governors from a military or police background.

Egypt's Nile Delta governorates witnessed protests and minor clashes immediately following the new appointments.

In Daqahliya, several political forces, including the Constitution Party and the 'Rebel' campaign, expressed their objection to the appointment of the new governor Sobhi Atteya,  who is a member of the Brotherhood's guidance bureau and their former spokesperson in the governorate.

On Sunday night, activists protested at the Daqahliya governorate building, raising slogans such as "The Brotherhood's governor is not welcome" and "Why are you rushing to your end?"

In the hours following Atteya's announced appointment, unidentified attackers torched the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) office in the Daqahliya town of Meit Salsil.

The FJP office's official Facebook page announced that it had been attacked by "thugs."

The anti-Morsi 'Rebel' campaign, which aims to collect 15 million signatures against Morsi, denied any involvement in the attack.

Mohamed El-Mohandes, public works coordinator for the campaign, said that the incident was an "independent action" by citizens who are dissatisfied with the new governor.

Protests also took place in other Nile Delta governorates.

In Tanta, the capital of Gharbiya, members of several political groups barricaded entrances to the governorate buildings on Monday, protesting the appointment of a Brotherhood-affiliated governor.

Gharbiya's new governor, Ahmed El-Beili, was formerly head of the Brotherhood's administrative office in the governorate.  On Sunday night, El-Beili told Al-Ahram that the "different political factions should coexist in the current situation to help build the country's future."

El-Beili said he aims to develop the governorate's health, education and service sectors.

The April 6 Youth Movement announced it will stage a protest in front of Monofiya's governorate building on Monday to prevent the newly-appointed governor, Ahmed Shaarawi, from entering his office.

According to the movement, Shaarawi, who was head of the Brotherhood's office in Suez, is part of a Brotherhood attempt to "reproduce the repressive state... [and] that is the biggest threat to the 25 January revolution."

Similarly, in Beheira, the opposition coalition National Salvation Front (NSF) said it will protest outside the governorate's building against new governor Osama Soliman, who is a member of the Brotherhood's consultative office and the governorate's FJP head.

However, the Brotherhood appointees are not the only new governors sparking anger in the governorates.

In Damietta, citizens demonstrated against new governor Tareq Khedr, who was a police general under now-jailed former Minister of Interior Habib El-Adly and is currently a member of the Ghad Al-Thawra Party, which is closely allied to the Brotherhood,.

In a televised interview Sunday night on Al-Youm TV show on Al-Hora Satellite channel, Khedr, that he will work with Damietta's people because "Egypt needs everyone who can help build the future we aspire to."

Morsi's new appointments have also drawn criticism from Egypt politicians from across the political spectrum.

Conservative Salafist lawyer Mamdouh Ismail, a former member of the now-dissolved people’s assembly, criticised Morsi's decision on Monday.  

“Unfortunately, the appointment of seven Muslim Brotherhood members and one from [the ultra-conservative] Al-Gamaa Al-Islamyia will inflame the fire, not extinguish it,” said Ismail, adding that “the path of stubbornness hasn’t change.”

Ahmed Saeed, head of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, said that the Muslim Brotherhood is "obstinate and detached from the people."

He described the new appointments as an indicator of "political bankruptcy and confusion."

 "If [a lot of Egyptians] were already calling for early presidential elections, the demands are now going to increase as 30 June becomes closer," he added.

Opposition groups, including the anti-Morsi 'Rebel' campaign, are planning mass demonstrations on 30 June to call for the president's ouster due to the economic and political strife the country has faced this past year.

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