x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Restoration of parliament has divisive influence on all Egyptian society

Regional editorials comment on Mohammed Morsi's presidency and Kofi Annan's failures.

One week after Mohammed Morsi was officially sworn in before the Constitutional Court and assumed his responsibilities as president of Egypt, it seems as if the tensions between the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the Muslim Brotherhood movement are back, editorialised the London-based newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi on Monday.

"President Morsi certainly astonished everyone on Sunday when he issued a decree ordering the reinstatement of parliament as of next Tuesday in what was seen as an explicit defiance of Scaf and the constitutional court," said the paper.

The decision followed a Muslim Brotherhood consultative council meeting the previous day. This indicates that the Brotherhood, which controls more than two thirds of parliamentary seats in alliance with the Salafis, has decided to revoke the constitutional court's decision.

On its part, Scaf called for an urgent meeting late on Sunday to look into the appropriate response to the president's move. By dissolving the parliament, the military council gave itself all legislative powers. It is expected to reject the president's decree to reinstate the dissolved assembly.

At the moment, two main camps dominate the scene in Egypt: on the one hand, a camp that considers that annulling the house was unconstitutional since the infractions that gave rise to the decree were restricted to a few dozen seats and re-election should be limited to these seats only.

On the other hand, another camp insists that the president doesn't have the power to revoke a decision by the constitutional court that swore him in. He should have upheld the provisions of the law especially in that he dedicated a part of his inaugural address to praising the Egyptian legal institutions.

"It is difficult, and too early still, to predict what the reactions to President Morsi's decree will be. It all depends on the military council's response to the unexpected move. Rejecting the decision could be perceived as encroaching on the president's powers and an attempt to reduce his powers, which would stir instability once again in the country," added the paper.

The presidential decree threatens to create a fissure in the population between the liberals and the Islamists.

A large section of legal experts in and outside Egypt say that the court's decision to dissolve parliament was unconstitutional, especially in that the constitutional court justices were appointed by the former regime. Nonetheless, many political experts thought that the president's move was hasty and he should have been more patient to avoid clashing with Scaf at such an early stage of his term.

Annan grasps for fake solutions in Syria crisis

Now that three months have passed since Kofi Annan's mission was launched and the death toll in Syria at the hands of the Assad regime has hit 17,000, we must say that not only is Mr Annan's plan a failure, but he is a failure himself, commented Tariq Al Homayed in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat.

"Mr Annan has granted Bashar Al Assad one chance after the other, and did not announce early enough that Al Assad is dishonest and wants no plan to succeed," the writer noted.

In disregard of Syrian and Arab public opinion, Mr Annan has spoken only to western media, the latest of which was the French newspaper Le Monde. Although Arabs are the concerned party in the Syrian crisis, Mr Annan "has not bothered to address the Syrian or Arab public for the past three months".

Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs, was right to criticise Mr Annan for not attending the Friends of Syria conference recently held in Paris, an absence he slammed as "shameful".

Even worse, Mr Annan said Iran should be involved in efforts to end the Syrian turmoil.

The problem is that some politicians and diplomats "strive to reach any kind of result to announce that they have found solutions, even if the tyrant of Damascus stays in power, and Iran is granted legitimacy to interfere in Syria as part of the solution".

Morsi's officers will face a crucial test

Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi must absolutely be at a loss as who to appoint as a premier and as ministers for his government, columnist Emad Eddine Hussein wrote in the Cairo-based Al Shorouk.

"Especially in that Mr Morsi is trying to appease several conflicting parties," he said. "The people aspire for a better future, the military council seeks stability, political forces have different expectations, and regional and global powers long to see what shape new Egypt will take."

The Muslim Brotherhood announced that it would not nominate its key leader, Khairat Al Shater, but any premier from outside the Brotherhood will demand real power.

Thus, a person like Mohammed ElBaradei, for instance, would not accept being a mere face to enforce the Brotherhood programme. He would "either succeed and therefore vie for the presidency afterwards, or fail and his entire political career would be over for good".

Mr Morsi has to give full prerogatives to the incoming premier, or else he will be "just pulling the wool over people's eyes".

If a non-Brotherhood premier is selected and fails to accomplish anything, which is likely, the Brotherhood could offer it as an excuse for their own failure to deliver.

* Digest compiled by the Translation Desk