Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s push for a new constitutional declaration will prove to be unsustainable, an analyst tells Press TV.
On Thursday, Morsi issued a new constitutional declaration to expand his powers. The decree opens the way for retrials of officials involved in the clampdown on popular protests that toppled long-standing dictator Hosni Mubarak in early 2011. It also bars courts from challenging Morsi’s decisions.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Abayomi Azikiwe, editor at the Pan-African News Wire, from Detroit, to further discuss the issue. Azikiwe is joined by Wafik Moustafa, UK Chairman of Conservative Arab Network, from London, and Nii Akuetteh, an African Policy analyst, from Washington. The following is a rough transcription of the interview.
The big question here, Abayomi Azikiwe, is are Egyptians buying it? We’re seeing the protests that have occurred. We’re seeing in three different cities the office of the Muslim Brotherhood being torched.
Many opposing Morsi’s move have said that he’s elected by only 51.7 percent of the votes, not a landslide victory. What do you think is going to happen? Will the opposition, for example, move to erode Morsi’s base of supporters? Since our [previous] guest mentioned Mohamed ElBaradei, well, he labeled Morsi as the new pharaoh.
Yes, I believe the current situation is where the president has usurped even more powers outside the framework of the constitution of the country. I really don’t believe that it’s a sustainable political course that President Morsi has taken.
If you look at just what happened over the last two days with demonstrations in numerous cities throughout Egypt, today in the Suez Canal area there were demonstrations in several cities, the political headquarters of the Freedom and Justice Party was severely damaged according to some reports that have emerged over the last several hours.
I believe that he has to reassess his position. As you mentioned, he was elected by a very narrow margin. The Egyptian political landscape is a very diverse one.
You have other Islamist tendencies inside the country which are also very much concerned about what has happened politically, and they themselves are also vying for political power. Then of course the more national and secular organizations have never been that comfortable with a Muslim Brotherhood dominated government as well.
I believe he has to reconsider his position, politically, because the economic situation in Egypt right now, and combining that with the continuing tensions that are going on between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, does not bode well with for the future of the political situation inside of Egypt. He has to take many factors into consideration both domestically as well as internationally.
Obviously a lot of things are at play here, Abayomi Azikiwe. It was interesting that this wasn’t just about him giving himself this basic decree, but I was surprised to find out that he also granted himself the exclusive right to take measures that he sees fit to protect Egypt’s security, the national unity of the country and the revolution. I’m not too sure what those are all about but basically the opposition to that has come.
What makes him any different between him and Mubarak when he’s given himself this authority to include this? I found it particularly interesting how this played into the way the Gaza truce came out as Egypt became the mediator and how the US did not play that prominent role through Egypt in the spotlight, so to speak, with Clinton’s visit. How is this going to backfire since we know Egypt’s politics plays out on the streets like it did today in opposition to Morsi in Tahrir Square?
I believe that President Morsi has to distinguish himself from the previous government of Hosni Mubarak in several ways: first of all, in regard to at least providing an open platform, an open forum to other political parties and social interests to participate fully in the transformation process inside of Egypt. If this does not happen, there will not be peace inside the country.
I believe that the people in Egypt feel that if they were able to rise up, to organize, to mobilize millions of people to overthrow the previous National Democratic Party regime, they do not feel that they should settle from something that appears to be undistinguishable from the previous political system in which they suffered under over the previous three decades.
This relates, in my opinion, to the situation we just saw in regard to the bombing of Gaza by Israel. The Israeli Forces have relied for many, many years on the mediation role by the Egyptian government even under Hosni Mubarak.
It’s really not a new process that President Morsi has engaged in over the last two weeks.
In regard to the role of the United Stets, it was quite interesting that the bombing started almost immediately after the conclusion of the national presidential elections inside the United States.
The US government has maintained the same position it has maintained for decades, saying that Israel has a right to defend itself but denying the right of the Palestinian people as oppressed people to defend themselves against an occupation, against a settler colonial regime which Israel is.
I believe once again that it’s absolutely necessary that the Freedom and Justice Party government create a new political space, a broader avenue of dialogue and political participation that all groups inside of Egypt - we know that President Morsi still has a lot of support inside of Egypt. There were pro-government demonstrations inside of Egypt as well
At the same time, he has to recognize that his political mandate is a very slim one. In order to maintain any type of political stability inside of Egypt itself, he has to bring other forces and they have to be able to take ownership in the current political dispensation that is happening inside of Egypt.