U.S. media is reporting that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has named a team of advisers that includes a large number of Islamists and breaks his campaign promise to appoint a Christian and a woman as vice presidents. According to an AP report:
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s Islamist president Mohammed Morsi on Monday named a team of 21 advisers and aides that includes three women and two Christians and a large number of Islamist-leaning figures, backing off campaign promises to appoint a Christian and a woman as vice presidents. The move is the latest by Morsi, a longtime member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was inaugurated in late June, to establish his authority and break with the era of ousted President Hosni Mubarak by forming his own leadership. Morsi’s office has sought to depict him as independent of the Brotherhood and as a leader who wants to bring a wider political spectrum behind him, including liberals — but the Brotherhood still holds the preponderance of power in his administration. In midst of a fierce presidential election campaign earlier this year, Morsi sought to broaden his support and allay fears of Brotherhood dominance by promising to appoint a youth, a woman and a Christian to vice president posts. The promise brought an outcry from ultraconservative Islamists known as Salafis who said they would not accept a Christian or woman vice president, since they say neither is allowed to serve as head of state. Since Morsi’s inauguration, some Brotherhood officials have contended he was forced into the promises, signaling that he would likely back down. Earlier this month, Morsi appointed a senior judge, Mahmoud Mekki, as vice president. When asked, Morsi’s spokesman Yasser Ali told reporters that there will be only one vice president for the time being. Instead, Ali on Monday announced the formation of Morsi’s ‘presidential team,’ which includes four senior aides and a 17-member council of advisers, which includes seven figures seen as political liberals and 10 who have Islamist leanings of various degrees. The rolling back of the promises reflects Morsi’s growing confidence as a president who holds ‘super powers’ exceeding those of his predecessors, said Nabil Abdel-Fatah, a scholar with Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. Morsi holds both executive power and legislative authority after he sidelined the top military generals who ruled Egypt after Mubarak’s ouster on Feb. 11. 2011. The generals had dissolved parliament and taken on legislative powers, so when they were sidelined, Morsi seized the power to make laws — a power he has used once so far. ‘The announcement of the new team has nothing to do with the promises Morsi made before,’ said Abdel-Fatah. ‘Those chose will pose no challenge to the president … this is only for cosmetic purposes.’ Abdel-Fatah said the appointments suggested Morsi does not want to share powers with a vice president. ‘This is just another sign that we are heading to a deadlock with the Brotherhood insisting on monopolizing power,’ he said.
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A post from yesterday reported on what is called “the first significant protests” against President Morsi as well as the referral by Egypt’s Attorney General of an anti-Islamist former lawmaker for investigation by police prosecutors over claims he called for the downfall of the regime.
A post from earlier this month reported on efforts by the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to control the nation’s media. In what appears to be a gesture towards international pressure, various media are reporting that Egyptian President Morsi has issued a decree rescinding preventive detention for publish offenses and the freeing of a newspaper editor jailed for alleged publishing crimes. MEMRI has published a report titled “Muslim Brotherhood Efforts To Take Over Egyptian Media.”