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

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book 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.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs