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

Multimedia Obama, Modi Resolve Nuclear Deal Issues

Leaders find resolution on issues of liability of suppliers to India in event of nuclear accident, U.S. demands to track whereabouts of material supplied to country More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track 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.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid