President Mohamed Morsy’s recent decisions to prop up presidential powers and shield the constituent assembly from legal challenges, among other controversial steps, have raised the question of where Egyptian politics is heading today.
At first glance these developments seem to hold the promise of vengeance for the revolution’s martyrs, whose families were granted an increase in their state pensions. Upon closer examination, however, these decisions are clearly aimed at appropriating revolutionary legitimacy and using it to strengthen the position of the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled presidency. What was initially presented as a set of decrees aimed at responding to the Mohamed Mahmoud Street clashes that began on Monday, as well as widespread anger over the state’s ineptitude in bringing to justice those responsible for killing and injuring revolutionary protesters over the past year, ended up as a flagrant attempt to further centralize power and remove any checks on presidential authority.
The decrees effectively render the presidential decisions final and not subject to the review of judicial authorities, which may mark the return to Mubarak-style presidency, without even the legal cosmetics that the previous regime employed to justify its authoritarian ways.
Sallam concludes with, “Morsy has clearly taken sides, and it is not the side of the revolution.”