News / Middle East

Experts: Egyptian Rulings Could Throw Country Back into Chaos

An Egyptian boy peers out of barbed wire during a protest in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday June 14, 2012.An Egyptian boy peers out of barbed wire during a protest in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday June 14, 2012.
x
An Egyptian boy peers out of barbed wire during a protest in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday June 14, 2012.
An Egyptian boy peers out of barbed wire during a protest in front of the Supreme Constitutional Court in Cairo, Egypt, Thursday June 14, 2012.
Two controversial rulings by Egypt’s High Court could throw the country back into violent chaos, according to experts watching the events.

The Supreme Constitutional Court effectively dissolved parliament, declaring that a third of the legislators were elected unconstitutionally. It also upheld the right of Ahmed Shafiq, an ally of former Prime Minister Hosni Mubarak, to run in the presidential runoff election.

David Ottaway, a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, said the rulings are “bad news” for the stability of Egypt.

“It’s an opening round and a showdown between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood that’s been brewing for months,” he said, referring to the Islamist group that is set to lose its parliamentary majority. “Now we’re about to see the full out showdown in the streets. There’s very likely to be a lot of violence and protests.”

After the ruling, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces assumed legislative powers, just two days after it gave the military the right to arrest civilians, reviving memories of the Mubarak government’s emergency law.

Egyptians already were out in force Thursday, accusing the military of carrying out a soft coup. They gathered outside the court and in Tahrir Square, the site of the mass protests that forced Mubarak to resign last year. After the revolution, many Egyptians were hopeful that power would be returned to the people.

But Steven Cook, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, says that hope was short-lived because the Supreme Constitutional Court is not neutral.

“It is very much part of the so-called old regime. I think the response among revolutionaries and the Muslim Brotherhood is obviously not going to be received very well by those who stood to benefit from changes in Egyptian society,” he said. “I think you’re going to see significant people pour into the streets and demand change.”

Shafiq will be running against Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party during the runoff on Saturday and Sunday.

Shafiq delivered what Cook described as essentially a “victory speech” on Thursday. Despite the confidence, Cook said the outcome of the election is not entirely decided.

“You are going to see significant opposition and activity opposed to these rulings and I think it really does suggest that it’s anybody’s presidency,” he said.

Isobel Coleman, also of the Council on Foreign Relations, said one should expect backroom negotiations beyond the election.

“As people recognize that these counterrevolutionary forces are just not moving over, then the big question becomes what will the major players do? We’ve seen some discussion going on between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military,” she said.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington is monitoring the implications of the Egyptian court decisions.

“In keeping with SCAF commitments, the U.S. expects to see a full transfer of power to a democratically-elected civilian government,” she said. “There can be no going back on the democratic transition called for by the Egyptian people.”

Clinton said she expects the election to be held in an atmosphere that is conducive to it being peaceful, fair and free. But even if that happens, Coleman said she expects the polls to have shorter lines than the last election.

“People have already been somewhat disillusioned with the whole process. You’re going to see low voter turnout for this runoff. There’s a sense that the runoff was predestined. That the judiciary is going to make a decision,” she said.

Calls for both a boycott of the election, and a full return to Tahrir Square, are circulating across the country, signaling Egypt’s revolution is far from over.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: SCAF from: Alexandria Egypt
June 14, 2012 10:37 PM
"...back into chaos...?" Egypt has enjoyed the chaos since Obama's Cairo speech... Alexandria has become a drug port for Turkish drug dealers. Rape murder kidnappings violence in Alexandria is beyond belief. everyone buys guns. Drugs are everywhere. i hope Russia destroy Turkey

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid