Egypt’s president, Mohammad Morsy of the Muslim Brotherhood, has asserted civilian presidential control, or at least the appearance of it, over the Egyptian military. Today he released a surprise statementrevealing he had demanded the resignation of several top generals, including Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi.
Tantawi, as the minister of defence and the head of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces, had been the country’s effective ruler during the transition from Mubarak. He was seen by many as holding more real power than the President himself. The statement also named Mahmoud Mekki, a former senior judge, as vice president (leaving Morsy’s promise to include a female and a Christian among a group of co-vice presidents unfulfilled).
A constitutional amendment annexing presidential powers, issued by the military as the president was being elected, will be revoked. This also reverts powers previously held by the parliament (which the Supreme Constitutional Court dissolved on an electoral technicality). Morsy has, it seems, vested his presidency with both full executive powers and the legislative responsibilities that SCAF had assumed from the parliament after Mubarak’s fall.
Perhaps most important of these is responsibility for guiding the drafting process of the new constitution. Should the constituent assembly named for the task by parliament be unable to complete the document, a new assembly shall be selected not by SCAF or by parliament (the status of which remains ambiguous) but by Morsy himself…
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