Morsi’s tentative confrontation

Egypt’s chaotic political circus is back on the road. On Sunday night, Mohammed Morsi called for the reinstatement of the country’s parliament, 3 weeks after its dissolution by the SCAF. For some, the move represents a bold challenge to the military’s authority. In a piece for New Statesman, however, I argue that the contents of Morsi’s decree itself are less radical than they first appear:

Morsi’s decree rejects the SCAF’s most recent political manipulations, but at this stage continues to comply with aspects of the political roadmap put forward by the junta in June. This emphasised the temporary nature of Egypt’s parliament, declaring that: “elections will take place one month from the day the new constitution is approved by national referendum.”

In addition, the scope of Morsi’s latest decree remains limited. In targeting the SCAF’s dissolution of parliament, he has avoided the potential for a bolder challenge against the legal ruling which made this possible in the first place. This suggests that the move is more symbolic than it is motivated by a genuine belief that he holds the power to reinstate parliament.

Read the rest here.

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Addendum: As pointed out by Elijah Zarwan, Morsi’s usage of the presidential decree is canny in the current circumstances. June’s constitutional declaration stripped the presidency of key powers that could be used to chip away at military authority. The executive order is now one of the few tools in Morsi’s arsenal, and one that he has successfully deployed to nudge a host of other issues into open contestation.

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