Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who when elected had to reclaim some executive power from the previous military regime, is in hot water after he gave himself a Thanksgiving present that put him above the courts and led to some Egyptians calling him "Pharaoh."
Fresh off the good fortune of helping negotiate the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Morsi issued an executive decree on Thursday that made "all decisions taken by Mursi until the election of a new parliament were exempt from legal challenge," and gave similar power to his allies in the upper house of Parliament. It also opened the door for re-trials for Honsi Mubarak and officials accused of being responsible for violence during the uprising. All is good, right? Well, no. The first elected President granting himself powers above the courts doesn't exactly seem democratic, and the country is still uneasy about his Islamist ties and the potential influence of the Muslim Brotherhood. The fear here is that he's just going to be another Mubarak.
Morsi today usurped all state powers & appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh. A major blow to the revolution that cld have dire consequences— Mohamed ElBaradei (@ElBaradei) November 22, 2012
The move, Morsi says, is only temporary until Egypt elects a new Parliament. That didn't stop Egyptians from protesting in Tahrir Square, and in other cities across Egypt, on Friday while chanting things line, "Get out, Morsi." Security officials had to use tear gas on the crowds in Tahrir Square, and other protestors who lit Muslim Brotherhood offices on fire in some cities clashed with police, as well.
Morsi defended his decree in a speech just outside his Presidential palace on Friday, saying they're necessary for the revolution to move forward. "I am for all Egyptians. I will not be biased against any son of Egypt," he said. "I don’t like, and don’t want — and there is no need — to use exceptional measures," he said. "But those who are trying to gnaw the bones of the nation must be held accountable." Elsewhere, an intern was busy defending the decree from the President's official Twitter account.
The move could end up costing Morsi more than he expected. Al-Arabiya reports some of his advisors might resign over this:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.