News / Middle East

Egypt's High Court Proposed As Crisis Solution

Anti-President Mohamed Morsi protesters watch a speech by him on TV at a cafe in Tahrir Square in Cairo, July 2, 2013.
Anti-President Mohamed Morsi protesters watch a speech by him on TV at a cafe in Tahrir Square in Cairo, July 2, 2013.
James Butty
Egypt’s opposition parties appear to be united in their demand for President Mohamed Morsi to step down, according to a noted Middle East analyst, but they are not unified on how he should be replaced.

Nezar Al-Sayyad, chair of the University of California Berkeley’s Center for Middle Eastern Studies, says a large percentage of the protesters want to remove Morsi from office, but they fear the alternative, which is military rule.
At the same time, Al-Sayyad says, the demonstrators need the military to force president Morsi from power.

“That is an impossible equation because for them to remove Morsi, they need the military,” he said.

Al-Sayyad said the only workable succession plan is one that is being floated by some of the anti-Morsi forces. It calls for the president to be removed, then replaced temporarily by the head of Egypt’s Constitutional Court under semi-military rule.
Butty interview with Al-Sayyad
Butty interview with Al-Sayyadi
|| 0:00:00

Egypt's Constitutional Court would be in charge of coming up with a committee to draft a new constitution that would be approved by public vote and for general elections within three months. For now, Al-Sayyad said, Egypt finds itself in a stalemate.

“What is going right now in Egypt is a tremendous degree of confusion, basically between the president and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in Egypt [SCAF],” Al-Sayyad said.

“The military has actually been on the sidelines since they handed power to Morsi more than a year ago,” he added. “It seems that they are now coming back into the picture by having issued an ultimatum to him to basically respond to the popular demand of the millions who are demonstrating in the streets.

Ultimatum deadline is Wednesday

The military issued its ultimatum on Monday, saying Morsi had to reach a deal with the opposition by Wednesday or the Army would step in with its own plan.
“As you know, Morsi has categorically rejected the military’s ultimatum, invoking that he is the supreme commander of the armed forces,” Al-Sayyad concluded.

Late Tuesday night, Morsi went on national television and said he was democratically elected a year ago and had no intention of resigning. He called on the Army to go back to its barracks. Al-Sayyad conceded that while Morsi was democratically elected, he won by by a very slim majority.
“In fact his [Morsi’s] election was probably as much contested as the election that brought George W. Bush to the presidency over Al Gore,” he said of the U.S. presidential balloting in 2000.

Al-Sayyad said a big problem for Egypt's opposition is that its various components are not agreed on what comes after Morsi.

“They have different alternatives, and hence, they are not united in what happens after they remove Morsi,” Al-Sayyad said.

Constitutional Court plan endorsed

Al-Sayyad said the Constitutional Court proposal seems to be the only workable succession plan put forth by any opposition forces.

“They actually have a plan, and it’s a very sensible plan,” he said. “Their plan is that the head of the Constitutional Court can rule temporarily under some kind of military rule in which the military will secure the streets and bring back security.”
Then, he said, the Constitutional Court would “be in charge of coming up with a committee that will redraft the constitution for a vote by the public and for elections within a limited period of time of only three months.”
President Barack Obama has said the United States is committed to the democratic process in Egypt and has not sided with any particular political group there.

Al-Sayyad said some Egyptians are interpreting Obama’s statement as standing behind Morsi because he is the elected leader of Egypt. But the analyst said the problem with that is that Morsi has lost all legitimacy with millions of Egyptians.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs