Egypt's New Political Struggle

President Mohammed Morsi with Egyptian Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and Chief of Staff Sami Anan (Photo credit:AP)

On February 11, 2012, after former president Hosni Mubarak stepped down, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces announced that it would remain in charge of the country until a president had been elected. Their possession of power resulted in the March 30 dismissal of the People’s Assembly and the Shura Council. Additionally, they issued a Constitutional Declaration setting out constitutional amendments which, developed by an ad hoc committee appointed by the SCAF and approved in a referendum, laid out a set of procedures to rebuild the Egyptian political order. Moreover, despite the announcement of Muhammad Morsi’s electoral win, the SCAF has been hesitant to hand over full governing control and as a preventative step issued an interim constitution only hours before Morsi claimed victory to broaden its power over the future government. The political showdown between the military and the Islamic president has questioned the ultimate power of the presidency in its current form and the ability to transition to civilian rule; most recently, the feud was evident in Morsi’s convening of Parliament in defiance of the court and military.  

Until a new constitution is written, the military council has stated their intention of holding on to legislative power which has only perpetuated the idea that Morsi’s position is nothing more than that of a figurehead. Nonetheless, Morsi, after assuming his position, vowed to “represent all the people” and is attempting to establish a powerbase despite the political deadlock. Morsi has rejected the political authority of the SCAF and has attempted through his various acts since assuming the presidency to emphasize the temporary nature of their rule. As such, he has moved forward with establishing the new Constitutional Assembly, which announced, this past week, that they are expecting the writing process to be complete in August .What is more, in the past few weeks, putting aside ideological differences, he has met with several world leaders in an attempt to get the backing of the world community and has pledged to “preserve all national and international agreements”.This has given him a greater position of power and legitimacy in the eyes of the international community.

Morsi’s election is a momentous and historic event, and these next few weeks will begin to reveal what Egypt’s future will hold. Yet the situation remains tenuous. Questions still linger over what it means for the country to have an Islamist President, if Morsi’s governance will be all-inclusive as he has stated, when and if the military will loosen their control, and whether the revolution that started a year ago is coming to an end or merely just beginning. These are all things that only time will be able to answer.

Ariel Brickman

Diwaniyya Contributor