Thursday,20 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1128, 27 December 2012 - 2 January 2013
Thursday,20 September, 2018
Issue 1128, 27 December 2012 - 2 January 2013

Ahram Weekly

Once a judge…

Reem Leila looks into the reasons behind the resignation of Vice President Mahmoud Mekki

Al-Ahram Weekly

On the evening of 22 December Vice President Mahmoud Mekki submitted his resignation, just as voting in the second round of the constitutional referendum was being held. The draft constitution does not include any article regarding the post of vice president.

According to a statement delivered by Mekki to the press, the resignation was not his first to be submitted. “I resign as my political position does not suit my nature as a judge. This is the second time to submit my resignation to the president,” said Mekki.

Mekki revealed that his previous resignation on 7 November was not announced in public because President Mohamed Morsi did not accept it at the time which was when Israel was launching a ferocious assault on Gaza.

Mekki’s intention to resign was previously delayed in light of the recent state of political schism. He headed the national dialogue sessions which were held in an attempt to reach rapprochement between political powers and the presidency. Civil political forces on the one hand and the presidency and Islamist forces on the other have been polarised since the 22 November constitutional declaration in which President Morsi immunised all his decisions against any judicial oversight. Mekki, a judge by profession, was in Pakistan at the time.

The vice president said in a statement after he returned from Pakistan on 23 November, “I had no idea about this constitutional declaration and the president did not consult me before announcing it to the public.”

“Since I assumed this post I have exerted my utmost effort to realise national interests on various levels and with different factions,” he said. Mekki said he believed he had played an important role in bringing together political powers of diverse affiliations to achieve national dialogue and eliminate divisions plaguing Egypt.

Presidential spokesman Yasser Ali justified Mekki’s resignation by stating that Mekki felt he would “better serve the country as a judge than a vice president.”

There were reports stating Mekki resigned in order to be appointed the new prosecutor-general instead of Talaat Abdallah, who has been severely criticised by the judiciary ever since Morsi appointed him to replace a Mubarak-era stalwart.

“I have no idea about such reports. It is premature to discuss such a topic,” Ali added.

“I believe that it is the right time to resign. It is about time to return to my original job, a judge,” said Mekki.

Some political analysts believe that Mekki’s resignation — just a few hours before the end of the final phase of the referendum on Egypt’s draft constitution — was because the constitution does not include the post of a vice president and does not oblige the president to appoint one. The speaker of parliament will temporarily take the president’s place if that is needed.

Political analyst Hassan Nafaa said Mekki’s resignation came too late. “Neither the street nor politicians nor experts felt his influence or impact on the political arena. Mekki was marginalised. At the same time his political experience was not much. Accordingly, he failed in proceeding with his mission,” said Nafaa.

“He resigned during this particular time because he was aware of the results of the referendum,” said Nafaa.

There are reports that Mekki might assume the post of prosecutor-general. “Mekki’s appointment as prosecutor-general is very controversial. Although he was among the reformist judges, he is now believed to have ties with the Muslim Brotherhood after he was given the job by an Islamist president,” said Nafaa.

Mekki was the first civilian to serve as vice president since Egypt’s 1952 Revolution. During Mubarak’s 30 years, there was no such post, except when Omar Suleiman was made vice days before Mubarak’s ouster.

During the presidencies of Gamal Abdel-Nasser and Anwar Al-Sadat, vice presidents were military personnel.

Mekki, known as a reformist judge, was well known for fighting for judicial reforms during the Mubarak era. He played a leading role in the pro-democracy movement which reached its peak in 2005 and 2006. Mekki, alongside his colleagues, also opposed the rigging of the 2005 parliamentary elections which were widely held to be falsified.

Mekki graduated from the Police Academy and began his career as a police officer during which he served in the Central Security Forces. He later earned a BA in law and was promoted in judicial circles until he became deputy chief justice of the Court of Cassation.

His brother Ahmed Mekki was appointed minister of justice on 2 August. He is still serving in his post.

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