The news from Egypt is appalling. The Islamist Morsi has granted himself the power to do anything he wants to do without any hindrance from courts.
President Mohamed Morsi issued a decree on Thursday granting himself broad powers above any court as the guardian of Egypt’s revolution, and used his new authority to order the retrial of Hosni Mubarak.
Mr. Morsi, an Islamist and Egypt’s first elected president, portrayed his decree as an attempt to fulfill popular demands for justice and protect the transition to a constitutional democracy. But the unexpected breadth of the powers he seized raised immediate fears that he might become a new strongman.
“An absolute presidential tyranny,” Amr Hamzawy, a liberal member of the dissolved Parliament and prominent political scientist, wrote in an online commentary. “Egypt is facing a horrifying coup against legitimacy and the rule of law and a complete assassination of the democratic transition.”
It’s so…basic. It trashes the whole point of being “Egypt’s first elected president” and talk of “a constitutional democracy.” This fancy idea of “electing” people? It’s supposed to entail accountability, and limits on power, and stuff like that.
Nathan J. Brown, a scholar of the Egyptian legal system at George Washington University, summed up the overall message: “I, Morsi, am all powerful. And in my first act as being all powerful, I declare myself more powerful still. But don’t worry — it’s just for a little while.”
The BBC reports that Morsi is saying there there there it will be fine.
President Mohammed Mursi has appeared before supporters in Cairo to defend a new decree that grants him sweeping powers.
He told them he was leading Egypt on a path to “freedom and democracy” and was the guardian of stability.
He was speaking as thousands of opponents gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square and offices of the president’s party were attacked in several cities.
The decree says presidential decisions cannot be revoked by any authority.
What could possibly go wrong?