Egyptian President Morsi Rejects Previous Limits
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Egyptian President Morsi Rejects Previous Limits

October 19, 2019


bjbj”9″9 MARGARET WARNER: To dissect this
latest twist in Egypt’s political saga, we turn to Michele Dunne, director of the Atlantic
Council’s Center for the Middle East. She previously served in the State Department
and the National Security Council staff. And, Michele Dunne, welcome back. MICHELE DUNNE,
Atlantic Council s Center for the Middle East: Thank you, Margaret. MARGARET WARNER: How
big a move is this on Mohammed Morsi’s part, and why did he do it? MICHELE DUNNE: Well,
President Morsi did this to roll back restrictions on his power that were put in place just before
he was declared the winner of the presidential election in June. So he has — he has rolled
— he has overturned this supplementary constitutional declaration that gave the military broad political
powers, and he also, of course, replaced the powerful defense minister, Mohamed Tantawi,
who was in his job for more than 20 years, and the chief of staff, as well as several
others, the commander of the air force, the navy, et cetera. There was a whole bunch of
military replacements. MARGARET WARNER: But, I mean, if you look at it in the big picture,
is this President Morsi trying to shift power, consolidate power more in the presidency and
to diminish the military’s? Or was it a question of getting rid of Tantawi and elevating people
he thought, what, are more loyal? MICHELE DUNNE: It’s a matter of putting the military
back into the place that they occupied before President Mubarak was removed in February
2011, so putting the military back into purely a military role and removing them from any
extraordinary executive or legislative powers. Now, the thing that does cause some concern
is that Morsi himself now took on not only full presidential powers, but legislative
powers. Because the parliament was dissolved following the Supreme Court decision a couple
of months ago, there isn’t one. And so, you know, that can lead some people to say, oh,
this is the Brotherhood taking over Egypt. MARGARET WARNER: I want to get back to the
civilian side. But, first, let me ask you a little bit about the military. Now, Tantawi
nor any of the senior brass that were ousted has squawked about this. Was there some sort
of a deal? MICHELE DUNNE: There were — the people that Morsi elevated to the Defense
Ministry and the chief of staff and so forth were other members of the Supreme Council
of the Armed Forces. So he chose very carefully. If he had tried to bring in outsiders or whatever,
I’m sure there would have been a problem. But it looks as though, frankly, he was working
with other members of this same body, the SCAF, to put them into senior positions and
to move out Tantawi and Anan. MARGARET WARNER: So, you’re saying that the military is now
not going to bid, as it did just two months ago, for control over the budget, control
over the prime minister, legislative authority that they wanted to exercise without oversight?
MICHELE DUNNE: Yes, that’s right. I mean, and — but we — now we have to see if this
sticks. So far, in Egypt, things are quiet and it looks as though it’s going to stick.
But there have been so many twists and turns in this Egyptian transition, it’s hard to
say what’s coming next. There’s still a battle to be fought over the new Egyptian constitution,
new parliamentary elections after that. And it’s really hard to say whether the military
will reassert itself. It still has a lot of economic power. And so I think the struggle
for power between the civil and the military in Egypt is far from over. MARGARET WARNER:
Now, on the civilian side, you referenced the possibility of new parliamentary elections.
Right now, with no parliament essentially legitimately sitting, is there any civilian
check on President Morsi’s power? MICHELE DUNNE: Not — well, there are the courts.
There is still this Supreme Constitutional Court and several other courts in Egypt that
are pretty much well-respected and so forth. And there have been a few tussles already
between Morsi and the courts. It was the courts that dissolved the parliament in which Morsi’s
party had a near majority and so forth. So, one of the things that people are waiting
to see is whether he’s going to change some appointments of senior people in the courts.
That’s a possibility. He has recently appointed a senior judge as his vice president and a
new justice minister. And they’re already speaking about independence of the judiciary.
And they may want to replace some of the senior judges who are still there from the Mubarak
era. MARGARET WARNER: Now, there was big concern on the part of secular opposition figures
who helped topple Mubarak that this was going to mean that Morsi’s election would mean the
Muslim Brotherhood essentially establishing total control over the government. Can you
— what can you tell from his appointments? Are most of his new appointments from the
Brotherhood? To what degree is this an Islamist government? MICHELE DUNNE: No, he appointed
a few ministers from the Brotherhood. He appointed a prime minister and a new Cabinet a little
bit more than a week ago. And most of them are not from the Brotherhood. There are a
few. Now, his appointments were criticized as being not very powerful people, technocrats,
not political heavyweights and so forth. But, no, he has been careful, I think. And his
military appointments and so forth are people well-qualified, from the establishment, not
necessarily known for Islamist leanings. MARGARET WARNER: Well, Michele Dunne, thank you so
much. MICHELE DUNNE: You’re welcome. gd2=:p2=urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags
Street urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags address urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags
place urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags country-region MARGARET WARNER: To dissect
this latest twist in Egypt’s political saga, we turn to Michele Dunne, director of the
Atlantic Council’s Center for the Middle East Normal Microsoft Office Word MARGARET WARNER:
To dissect this latest twist in Egypt’s political saga, we turn to Michele Dunne, director of
the Atlantic Council’s Center for the Middle East Title Microsoft Office Word Document
MSWordDoc Word.Document.8

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