Just one day after being celebrated by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton following the Gaza truce announced yesterday, U.S. media is reporting that Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has granted himself what are described as “sweeping new powers” that place him above any oversight. According a New York Times report:
CAIRO (AP) — Egypt’s president on Thursday issued constitutional amendments granting himself far-reaching powers and ordering the retrial of leaders of Hosni Mubarak’s regime for the killing of protesters in last year’s uprising. Mohammed Morsi decreed immunity for the panel drafting a new constitution from any possible court decisions to dissolve it. He granted the same protection to the upper chamber of parliament, which is largely toothless. Both bodies are dominated by Morsi’s Islamist allies. Several courts are currently looking into cases demanding the dissolution of both bodies. Parliament’s lower chamber, also dominated by Islamists, was dissolved in June by a court decision on the grounds that the rules governing its election were illegal. The Egyptian leader also decreed that all decisions he has made since taking office in June and until a new constitution is adopted are not subject to appeal in court or by any other authority, a move that places Morsi above oversight of any kind. He already has legislative powers after the powerful lower chamber was dissolved days before he took office June 30. The decree for retrials appeared aimed at launching a new prosecution of Mubarak. It says those who held ‘political or executive’ positions in the former regime would be affected. Mubarak was convicted in June to life in prison for failing to stop the killing of protesters during last year’s uprising against his rule, but many Egyptians were angered that he wasn’t convicted of actually ordering the crackdown and that his security chief, Habib el-Adly, was not sentenced to death.
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On his Twitter feed, pro-reform leader Mohamed ElBaradei wrote “Morsi today usurped all state powers & appointed himself Egypt’s new pharaoh. A major blow to the revolution that cld have dire consequences.”
For more information on these events, go here.
A GMBDW analysis from yesterday looked at the positive implications for President Morsi in relation to the Gaza truce.