News / Middle East

Morsi Critics Demand Early Egypt Elections

An Egyptian signs a petition for Tamarod, Arabic for "rebel", a campaign calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and for early presidential elections in the Shubra neighborhood in Cairo, Egypt, June 2, 2013.
An Egyptian signs a petition for Tamarod, Arabic for "rebel", a campaign calling for the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and for early presidential elections in the Shubra neighborhood in Cairo, Egypt, June 2, 2013.
Elizabeth Arrott
For many Egyptians, the year since Mohamed Morsi became the nation's first democratically elected president has been a failure. After a year of dreadful economic decline, energy and water shortages, lack of security and what some see as the president's overbearing, exclusive, Islamist agenda, they now want to do something about it.

Across the country, activists with the Tamarod - or Rebel - campaign have been collecting signatures expressing lost confidence in Morsi and demanding early elections.

Some view the campaign, and planned demonstrations on June 30, as an exercise in democracy.

May Wahba, head of Tamarod's media department, argues the legally elected Morsi lost legitimacy when he assumed extraordinary powers for several weeks late last year.

She says anti-Morsi campaigners would like to use the same democratic way he came to power to make him leave. She cites Article 1 of the constitution, which places power in the hands of the people.

Tamarod Central Committee member Sayed Gharib contends Morsi has betrayed the spirit of the January, 2011 revolution and the hundreds who died carrying it out.

Gharib says the revolution brought Morsi to power, but “the legality of the ballot box and constitutional legality will not stand above the blood of the martyrs.”

Tamarod campaigners say they have collected the signatures of 15 million people, more than the number who voted for Morsi last year.

Tamarod leaders do not know how many who signed the petition will turn out for the demonstrations. They also express doubts Morsi will give in to their demands, even if millions do take to the streets. The president has already called the planned protests counter-revolutionary, and says he will deal with them “decisively.” Government supporters plan demonstrations of their own.

Tamarod member Wahba says the movement is committed to peaceful protest, but is bracing for violence.

She says they are expecting June 30 to be “a bloody day” because certain groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, have been putting pressure on Tamarod since their campaign began in April.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing say authorities will respect peaceful demonstrations. But Mohamed Soudan, the Freedom and Justice Party's foreign secretary, says protesters would be better off mobilizing what support it has for the next round of parliamentary elections.

“Then you can have your own prime minister who can do whatever are your desires and demands and then he will have, according to the new constitution, more power, more benefits than the president himself,” Soudan said.

Tamarod leader Gharib says it is not about power. He hopes Egypt's constitutional court will assume interim control if Morsi steps down. Those are the slogans, and the hope, of the revolution that toppled the old government, protests Gharib took part in. He also demonstrated against the military rulers who followed.

The mantle of revolution - of protest against oppression, even if it is not clear what comes next - is something Tamorod shares with those in power now.

The Freedom and Justice Party's Soudan says Tamarod should give Morsi a chance.

“They should ask him their demands in the manner which better makes them the model, which all over the world [people] appreciate, the way which was the 25th of January revolution," Soudan said. "The Egyptians were already a good model.”

Egypt's democracy, and its culture of protest, is in its infancy. Interpreters sometimes contradict each other and occasionally themselves. Perhaps the only thing certain is that as tempers and temperatures flare, the country is facing a long, hot summer.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid