It was very difficult for anyone to imagine President Mohammed Mursi doing what he did, but his spokesman announced it clearly, effectively declaring that the president is now above all other authorities. The spokesman said that President Mursi’s decisions are “final and cannot be contested”, adding that “all constitutional declarations, laws and decrees made since Mr Mursi assumed power cannot be appealed or cancelled by any individual, or political or governmental body”.
This statement is a bombshell announcing the end of the January 25th revolution, and inaugurating the solitary rule of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mursi’s decisions shocked many and united all other Egyptian political forces the same night to warn the public that their president was overthrowing the revolution to become a dictator.
Mohammed Mursi had not yet completed five months as Egypt’s new president when without any reason or provocation he buried the Egyptian revolution and dealt the biggest blow so far to the Arab Spring. This confirms what the skeptics said about Islamist groups not being able to operate in a democratic manner. Mursi and his Brotherhood group have committed the same mistake as Hamas, when the latter turned against the Palestinian Authority in Gaza. Hassan al-Turabi and his Islamic Front did the same in Sudan when they overthrew the only democratic government in the Arab world at that time. Before both of these examples, Ayatollah Khomeini drove away his revolutionary partners in Iran and sought to monopolize power for himself; a policy that continues to this day. All these regimes came to power in the name of fighting against dictatorships and calling for the establishment of civilian and democratic rule, but they seized power for themselves in the end.
The extraordinary presidential decrees issued by Mursi three days ago were not announced by the president himself. He authorized his spokesman to publicize them and this indicates that these were the decisions of the Brotherhood group, further strengthening the rumors that Mursi is not the real decision maker in Cairo. Earlier, when Mursi took the decision to dismiss the Egyptian public prosecutor, he was forced to back down when judges challenged him saying that the appointment and removal of such figures did fall under his jurisdiction. When political leaders protested against his decision to incorporate parliamentary legislation within his powers, Mursi said he would only resort to such powers in an extremely restricted manner, but three days ago he used them to the maximum level.
The presidential decrees are equivalent in terms of their importance and danger to the events of the revolution itself. Mursi has now become the president, the judiciary, the parliamentary councils and the guardian of the constituent assembly. Prior to this he dismissed the commanders of the army and intelligence services, securing all powers for himself in a brazen manner that even Hosni Mubarak didn’t dare adopt when he was president, although he did assume such powers under the pretext of emergency rule.
If President Mursi does not reverse his decisions within the next few days, Egypt will enter a new tunnel of tension and its short period of democratic spring will come to an end. If this dark tunnel continues we will witness further decrees to intimidate and control the media, to remove more judges and administrators, and to seize more state-owned companies. This way the Muslim Brotherhood will strengthen its grip on the facilities of government, not as an elected party but as an entity seeking to seize permanent control.