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What happened in Egypt? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The decision taken by Egyptian President Dr. Mohamed Mursi to retire Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi and Chief of Staff Sami Annan and cancel the constitutional declaration was met with mixed reactions inside Egypt, as well as regionally and internationally, particularly regarding how to describe this.

There are those who view Mursi’s decision as a political coup against the military, and that Egypt today is in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, whilst others believe that Mursi has ended the military’s rule once and for all. Opinions vary in this regard, particularly in Egypt, as they are based on emotion rather than realism. The one viewpoint that stood out from all the other views expressed in Egypt was that of Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei who issued a warning regarding Egypt’s future. As for the other views, they varied between those gloating at the military’s fate, and those who believe that it is essential to bring Tantawi and Annan to trial, along the lines of what happened to the former Egyptian president. So which of these views is the most accurate, particularly in Egypt?

In order to allow one to form a position or put forward an answer, let us clarify what is taking place in Egypt. Here we must pay attention to an important issue, namely that the Egyptian presidency has absorbed one institute after another, very quickly, to the point that this is akin to bowling, with the presidency bowling a single ball and toppling a number of institutions in a short period of time. The situation in Egypt today shows that the presidency, the government, the media and the military institution, are all in the hands of the president. One might say that this is only natural, however this is not true, for without a parliament, constitution and Shura Council in place, the Egyptian president enjoys limitless power, and is even more powerful than former president Hosni Mubarak, even at the height of his reign!

The absence of a constitution, which would define the president’s power and the role of the government, and indeed clarify the form of government in Egypt – whether this is presidential or parliamentary – means that the president enjoys limitless power, and this automatically means that Egypt is under a presidential form of government. Before this could be decided by the Special Constituent Assembly which is charged with drafting the constitution, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi’s decisions have decided Egypt’s future, imposing this form of government as a fait accompli. Therefore it is difficult to image a parliamentary form of government occurring in Egypt, or that the presidential powers will be constrained compared to the Mubarak era, which is what the Egyptian revolution had demanded. This is an important point that is absent from the talk in Egypt now. Therefore, the reality of the situation in Egypt today is that only the judicial institution remains outside of the control of the Egyptian presidency, and perhaps this will also change in the near future! This is what the political situation in Egypt today is indicating, and this is a threat that the Egyptian people have failed to notice, particularly as they are split between those gloating over the military’s fate, and those who welcome an endless state of revolution, and therein lies the danger.

In summary, Egypt today is under a presidency that enjoys limitless power, as there is no constitution to determine the president’s power or the form of government, there is also no separation of powers, whilst no independent institutes remain in Egypt, rather these have all been eliminated.

This is the situation in Egypt today, without equivocation.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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