Egyptian Democracy lslamic Dictatorship?


Jefferson or Mao?

Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi smiles during a meeting with South Korea's presidential envoy and former Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan (not in picture) at the presidential palace in Cairo October 8, 2012, a day after Mursi's ''Al Nhada (Renaissance) project. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi smiles benignly, with new credibility after negotiating a truce in Gaza.

In the shadow of that achievement, President Mursi has triggered controversy by issuing decrees that complete the efforts of his party to replace military rule with democracy …. but this will be democracy as defined by the Islamic parties’ control of the new parliament.

Our western media are  likely to focus on the dramatic  retrials of Hosni Mubarak and his aides.  The decries assigned the President power to sack the Mubarak-era prosecutor general and appoint a new one. While Morsi’s action replacing  a corrupt prosecutor was needed, Heba Morayef, Egypt director for Human Rights Watch, said: “Egypt needed judicial reform and the public prosecutor is a Mubarak holdover, but granting the president absolute power and immunity is not the way to do it.”

Morsi’s most important decree shields the Islamist-dominated assembly writing Egypt’s new constitution from legal  challenges by a judiciary still tainted by allies of the military.  While this was necessary to reinforce any democratic powers versus the effort by the military to block Islamic democracy, the power now in the hands of the Islamic parties stoked fears among secular-minded Egyptians that the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies aim to dominate the new Egypt. Leading liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei, writing on his Twitter account, said Morsi had “usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt’s new pharaoh.”

ElBaredi, is a hero … the former head of the UN inspectors and a hero for his honesty vs. Bush’s claims vs Iraq as well as for revelation about Iran’s nukes.  His fears need to be taken seriously … an Islamic Constitution may not allow for secular dissent.  Secular critics have already undermined the legitimacy of the legislature writing the constitution  by the withdrawal of many non-Islamist members, who had complained their voices were not being heard.

New parliamentary elections will not be held until the document is completed and passed by a popular referendum. The decree also gave the body an extra two months to complete its work, meaning the drafting process could stretch until February, pushing back new elections.

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