• 07:08
  • Wednesday ,17 October 2012

Egyptian president's credibility marred by spat with prosecutor general

by the Global Times

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Wednesday ,17 October 2012

Egyptian president's credibility marred by spat with prosecutor general

Although the crisis between Egypt's President Morsi and Prosecutor General Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud ended with no serious consequences, the episode left the trustiness of the presidential institution tainted.


The drama began when President Morsi announced Thursday Mahmoud 's appointment as Egypt's new ambassador to Vatican, in a bid intended to remove the Mubarak-era prosecutor general from his pivotal judicial post. According to the law, however, the president does not have the power to dismiss the prosecutor- general.


The decision came one day after the Cairo Criminal Court decided to acquit all defendants accused of attacking peaceful protesters on Tahrir Square during the uprising last year in what is known as camel battle.


"Sacking the prosecutor general is not within the powers of the president and what happened is a sort of " breach" and " infringement, " and if the people kept silent about such a breach, another dictator will be made" , former director of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies Amr Rabea told Xinhua.


Backed by many in the judiciary, Mahmoud said that only "death" can part him from his post. "I haven't resigned from my post, and I will remain until the end of my mandate in accordance with the judiciary law".


After the public anger broke out, especially amid the liberal factions, who deem the president as wanting to dominate all powers of the state, Morsi on Saturday agreed that the top prosecutor kept his old job.


"Meguid Mahmoud expressed his desire to keep his old job, and the President decided to keep him in his post" Morsi's spokesman said.


"The president asserted his highest respect for the Egyptian judiciary and the independence thereof," Meguid Mahmoud said in a conference Sunday.


Bakr, a professor of political science with the American University of Cairo, said the president exit the crisis "wisely" and prevented a serious conflict from taking place in this nation, which would have serious consequences.


"The president realized this spat would make the prosecutor a hero, though he had been already rebuked in the Egyptian streets for failing to aggressively prosecute those accused of killing protesters," she said.


However, Bakr criticized the repeated attempts by the president to challenge the judiciary independency by surpassing its authority, as this happened earlier when Morsi decided to get the People's Assembly back to work, although it had been annulled by a constitutional court decision.


"Even if Morsi revoked his decision, he started to lose credibility among the Egyptian people, as he keeps speaking about democracy, but continues to attempt to dominate all powers of the state", she said.


Political professor with Cairo University Fakhry al-Tahtawi agreed with Bakr's view, but he added that the prosecutor general crisis revealed how the presidency "blundered" and is politically "fragile".


"This decision came one day before the demonstrations in Tahrir square erupted. Some protesters expressed their dissatisfaction with the president's performance in the first 100 days, while he thought he will have the public support, especially from the revolutionaries, like the support he had when he sacked the military council members," Tahtawi said.


"Morsi's decision revealed his consultants' lockage of experience," he added, describing what the consultants had achieved as "embarrassing entanglement" not "wise consultation."


Meanwhile, political expert with Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies Saed Lawendy said the prosecutor general issue will lead to a decline of the president's popularity.


"Its said for people to see the president tries to dominate all the powers in the state, but its sadder for them to see the president hesitant and undecided," Lawendy said, advising the president to remove incapable consultants from his team in order not to fall into such a "dilemma" again.