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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid