Tuesday,17 July, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1124, 29 November - 5 December 2012
Tuesday,17 July, 2018
Issue 1124, 29 November - 5 December 2012

Ahram Weekly

Crisis from within

The presidential advisory team may be embroiled in an internal feud, Reem Leila reports

Al-Ahram Weekly

The 17-member presidential team held an urgent meeting on 24 November to discuss the repercussions of the controversial decrees issued by President Mohamed Morsi on 22 November. During the meeting members discussed what could be done to extract the country from the current dilemma and put an end to the divisions of the public.
During the meeting, two advisors, Samir Morcos and Farouk Guweida, announced their resignation from the team to protest against Morsi’s declaration. Veteran writer Sekina Fouad who is also a member of the presidential team is reportedly also considering resigning. “I don’t feel like doing any effective role on the team,” said Fouad.
However, presidential spokesman Yasser Ali said the president has not yet approved their resignations. “Their resignations won’t be considered final or accepted before Morsi discusses the reasons with them,” said Ali.
Morcos, who has occupied the post for only three months, said he submitted his resignation because the president did not consult his advisory team before issuing the decrees. “So why should I continue with the team? None of us is being consulted on serious matters,” said Morcos.
Morcos, who is one of three Coptic members on the presidential advisory team, believes the declaration was “undemocratic and 100 steps backwards”. “I will declare details of my resignation once it is accepted. My decision is final and I will not change it,” he said. “I cannot continue working on the team while presidential decisions are made in such a dictatorial way.”
When Morcos was first appointed as a member of the presidential advisory team he had high hopes that the post will help him reform Egypt by changing the presidential office from within. Morcos was also elected a member of the Constituent Assembly drafting the constitution. However, he resigned without attending a single session in protest against its formation. “Most of its members are either Muslim Brotherhood, Salafis or are advocates of Islamists. Other factions of the society are not represented in the assembly,” said Morcos.
On 22 November, Morsi passed decrees by means of which he prevented his decisions from being overturned by any judicial authority. He appointed a new prosecutor-general, Talaat Ibrahim, and gave the Constituent Assembly two more months to finish the country’s constitution. He also banned the judiciary from dismantling both the Shura Council and the Constituent Assembly.
Ayman Al-Sayyad, chief editor of Weghat Nazar magazine and a member of the presidential team, stressed that neither he nor any other member of the advisory council had contributed to Morsi’s decrees. “I have my reservations, however, I do not intend to leave my post,” said Al-Sayyad. “If I resign I will lose the chance to help reform the status of the country.” The team is currently witnessing, according to Al-Sayyad, internal splits among its members due to the decrees. The whole country is splitting now, he added.
Al-Sayyad believes that there must be a solution to come out of this crisis or the country might witness a second revolution which might overturn everything. “My main reservation is related to the absolute powers the president gave himself.”
According to Al-Sayyad, the only way out of the crisis is the application of democracy. “The president should have addressed the people and explained his point of view and the reason behind passing such decrees. Prior to that, he should have discussed them with us, his team,” said Al-Sayyad.
Since Morsi announced his decrees, protesters representing civil forces have been demonstrating across the country. Judges have been suspending work at courts. The coming few days are expected to witness a further escalation if the two camps insist each one is right.

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