Egypt's Power Struggle: Three Things to Know

Uploaded by cfr on 27.11.2012

The most recent conflict between the Egyptian President and the judiciary is a serious one
and there are three things that we should know about it.
Firstly, the Egyptian Judiciary has been highly politicized since Mubarak's days and when
the current president claims that people in position are essentially remnants of the old
regime, that are operating with a political motivation, that have nullified an elected
lower house of parliament, that have dismissed a Constitution writing assembly and there
were serious rumors that they would do the same thing again with the current upper house
of parliament and the new Constitution writing assembly. President Morsi and his team thought
it was much wiser to be ahead of the game and dismiss the Prosecutor General as well
as immunize the presidency from any judicial oversight. Rightly there have been jitters
around this but that was the thinking of the president in Egypt, that he was more or less
trying to preserve the aims of the revolution by preempting what the judiciary was rumored
to do again - given that they've done it before it was possible that they would do that.
The second point to bear in mind is that yes, the judiciary was politicized but that does
not justify President Morsi grabbing both judicial as well as executive and in the absence
of a function of parliament, legislative power all for himself and there are real reasons
for concern. But it's got to be said that much of the reason why he's been so successful
in doing this is because the opposition parties in Egypt have been highly dysfunctional, deeply
confrontational and lack legitimacy outside their limited political networks and thus
far they've failed to articulate a vision that allows for both themselves and the president
and other parties in Egypt to come together and write what is essentially an important
document which brings me to my third point and that at risk in all of this is the writing
of the constitution.
This is not just a challenge in Egypt but across other Arab spring countries that new
documents, hopefully lasting documents, that have been written that ought to reflect, you
know, rule of law, transparent government, minority rights, religious freedom, and those
are the real issues that should be on the table and being discussed in debates across
the country and beyond and my worry is that at this juncture, these issues are being put
to a side and political fighting has broken out and unless we return to an understanding
of what the big picture is, I'm afraid no amount of street protests will allow for greater
prosperity to play out in Egypt.