The Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), it seems, has handed a poweless presidency to Mursi after tens of thousands of people demonstrated at Tahrir Square against the reported attempts to falsify the election results to favour Ahmad Shafiq, last minister with the Mubarak regime.
More popular as the 'spare tyre' of Muslim Brotherhood, Mursi got the backing of the MB campaign after its star candidate was disqualified from contesting the polls. Caught between devil (SCAF) and the deep sea, Mursi has to meet a lot of expectations from common Egyptians who have been demonstrating for a change for more than a year now.
SCAF head, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi has congratulated the new president, who will take office from July 1 but with his set of conditions that include: the generals have decreed de facto martial law, and arrogated to themselves full power over legislative and budgetary matters, the security agencies and the military, and the formation of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution.
Washington has termed the results as a watershed in the 'democratic transition' in Egypt but with military junta at the helm, the message seems a tad exaggerated. The only defiance to the military rulers came in a nationally televised speech in which Mursi vowed to swear the oath of office before the seated parliament and not before the Supreme Constitutional Court, as the SCAF generals had decreed. But rumours of his deal with the military junta came true when he took a bow towards the US and Israel by announcing that he will 'preserve all national and in international agreements', hinting at the country's 1979 pact with Israel.
On how a presidency with clipped wings has been gifted to Mursi, the constitutional addendum announced by the SCAF on 18 June is a grim reminder. It gives Tantawi authority to object to any article drafted in the new constitution, provided that he believes it to conflict with the revolution main goals or with all previous constitutions. It gives same powers to the president, prime minister and the Supreme Council of the Judiciary. Armed with this addendum, SCAF can dissolve the constituent assembly and form a new one if the current constituent assembly should encounter an obstacle that would prevent it from completing its work.
The SCAF would be responsible for deciding on all issues related to the armed forces including appointing its commanders and extending the terms in office of the aforesaid commanders, effectively making the military council immune, according to Ahram.org. With approval from the SCAF, the president can't declare war and in case of a domestic unrest in the country, the president would have to ask permission of the military council for assistance.
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