Following days of violence that saw Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood offices sacked and burned around the country, the Washington Post is reporting that Egyptian President Morsi may be softening his decision to assume sweeping new powers that placed him above any oversight. According to the article:
By Michael Birnbaum, Published: November 26 CAIRO — Egypt’s president appeared on Monday to soften an earlier decision to take on near-absolute power, saying through a spokesman that only some of his acts would be protected from judicial review. The announcement, a day ahead of planned opposition protests, was aimed at quelling criticism of proclamations President Mohamed Morsi made last week that gave him the power to legislate by decree and without court oversight. But the spokesman’s explanation that only ‘acts of sovereignty’ are immune from courtroom appeal did not immediately satisfy an unlikely coalition of secular forces that has emerged against what its members say is the most serious threat to Egypt’s fragile democracy since the country toppled its autocratic ruler almost two years ago. The White House declined on Monday to criticize Morsi’s move, conveying ‘concerns’ but emphasizing American gratitude for Egypt’s role last week in brokering a fragile cease-fire between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel. Spokesman Jay Carney said that Egypt’s path to democracy was not ‘perfectly smooth.’ The absence of strong U.S. opposition to Morsi’s assumption of almost total control over his country was itself rapidly becoming a political issue in Egypt on Monday. Opposition figures suggested that the United States was allowing Egypt’s first democratically elected leader to do what he wished domestically as long as he was a strong partner abroad in working toward a truce between Palestinians and Israelis. =U.S. officials said that they had a degree of trust in Morsi’s motives. Although the proclamations appeared undemocratic and thus could not win any overt American support, they were born of internal political problems that Egyptians must settle for themselves, said an Obama administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal discussions. Negotiations on the Gaza conflict resumed Monday, but the rapid-fire domestic developments distracted from solidifying what remains a fragile truce.The late-night explanation on Egyptian state television that Morsi’s powers would not be completely unlimited appeared to be the beginning of political negotiations, not an endpoint, experts said. Many in the opposition quickly said that in their view, little had changed. Morsi spokesman Yasser Ali did not amend the Thursday decrees; he simply said he was clarifying them. An unusual alliance of liberal secular forces and defenders of the autocratic rule of former president Hosni Mubarak has emerged in recent days to fight Morsi’s decision to take on untrammeled power. The country’s judges association said Monday that the explanation had no legal force and that the group would continue to call for strikes among judges and prosecutors. Other political figures repeated calls to hold protests Tuesday. With political Islamists largely backing Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood ally, the edicts have quickly polarized the country along religious lines. Analysts said Monday that the announcement that Morsi’s power may have some bounds did not necessarily have immediate practical consequences. ‘It has to be politically worked out. It’s clearly a way for Morsi to preserve what he really wanted plus to save face,’ said Nathan J. Brown, a professor of political science at George Washington University who is an expert on Egypt’s legal system.
Read the rest here.
A post from Friday reported on the violence that had broken out across Egypt in the wake of Morsi’s decision. Earlier posts had reported on the unprecedented worldwide acclaim that Morsi had been receiving for his perceived role in the Hamas/Israel truce.