Morsi's mistakes undermine his position

Said Shehata , Monday 22 Oct 2012

The repeated mistakes by President Morsi could put his position in jeopardy and weaken his grip on the Egyptian political scene

President Mohamed Morsi issued a decree to reinstate the dissolved People’s Assembly, which was refused by the High Constitutional Court, and Morsi complied with the High Constitutional Court verdict.

He recently dismissed the prosecutor general, Abdel-Meguid Mahmoud, and appointed him to be the Egyptian ambassador to Vatican. The prosecutor general and the High Council of Judges challenged the president’s decision, and Morsi was embarrassed again and kept Mahmoud in his position.

Those actions by Morsi contribute to the weakening of his position, and highlight the confusion that characterises his decisions.

This article discusses those decisions and others in order to highlight why Morsi fell in the same trap against the judiciary, and how this will negatively affect his future.

In the first case, reinstating the dissolved lower chamber of parliament, he promised the Muslim Brotherhood he would reinstate it because it was overwhelmingly dominated by Islamists. In his first speech, he pledged to reinstate the dissolved institutions. He was clearly motivated by his belonging to Islamists. He behaved like the head of a group and not a whole society.

He thought that this decision would strengthen his position, but he was ill-advised. He was defeated and embarrassed, and accepted the verdict of the court. He was supposed to wait for the verdict of the Higher Administrative Court but he did not.

With regard to dismissing the prosecutor general, Morsi was again ill-advised, and again targeted the judiciary. He was expecting support from people and compliance from Mahmoud, as happened with former SCAF members Tantawi and Anan. He miscalculated the situation and underestimated the reaction of the judges.

The president cannot dismiss the prosecutor general according to the constitution, so it is a shocking decision and shows the inability of the president to grasp the basics of the principle of separation of powers. He is not the khalifa who orders and people obey. There are laws that should be respected if we look to build a democratic state.

These two examples put question marks over the ability of Morsi to lead Egypt in the right direction. They also highlight the absence of a presidency apparatus that can help him to make the right decisions. There are some individuals close to Morsi who lead Morsi in a certain direction. He must distance himself from those gatekeepers in order to see the whole picture before he gets into trouble.

If Morsi repeats those types of mistakes, his reputation will be damaged and his opponents will increase. He needs to stop talking and travelling and focus on studying his future steps. He has a big burden on his shoulder and he must focus 100 per cent on his job as a president. He should unite Egypt behind him around a clear economic programme to eradicate poverty and illiteracy. He should engage with non-Islamist forces, since Egypt needs everyone's effort, to get through this transitional period. 

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