Egyptians outraged over Morsi granting himself 'pharaohic powers' in wake of Gaza conflict

Last Updated: Fri, Nov 23, 2012 06:40 hrs

Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has been accused of appointing himself as 'Egypt's new pharaoh' after he gave himself sweeping powers to oversee the country's political transition after succeeding in negotiating a ceasefire in Gaza.

Morsi declared that all presidential decisions would be immune from legal challenge until a new constitution is decreed.

"The president can issue any decision or measure to protect the revolution," his statement, read out on television by his personal spokesman, Yasser Ali, said.

"The constitutional declarations, decisions and laws issued by the president are final and not subject to appeal," the statement added.

According to the Telegraph, the announcement has caused outrage in the country with Mohammed ElBaradei, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency who returned to Egypt to become a leader of the liberal opposition, accused Morsi of declaring himself a 'new pharaoh'.

"Morsi today usurped all state powers and appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh," ElBaradei said on Twitter, adding: "A major blow to the revolution that could have dire consequences."

Sameh Ashour, head of the Lawyers syndicate, said in a joint news conference with ElBaredei that Morsi had committed a 'coup against legitimacy', and called on Egyptians to protest on Friday, the report said.

Morsi's move was designed to short-cut a series of stalemates to Egypt's constitutional transition from the dictatorship of ex-President Hosni Mubarak, the report added.

He also announced the sacking of the chief prosecutor, Abdel-Maguid Mahmoud, one of the last so-called 'remnants' of the Mubarak regime.

According to the report, Morsi announced that there would be retrials in many of the failed prosecutions, possibly including that of Mubarak himself, who was sentenced to life for failing to stop the crackdown.

Egyptians have condemned the move and protested in various parts in the country.

"This decision is a response to the Islamic trend not the people. He has given himself immunity and he has given the constitutent assembly immunity and he is attacking the judiciary's independence. He has just made himself a new Allah," Mohammed Said, 50, an accountant, said.

Heba Morayef, of Human Rights Watch, said that important decisions like ordering retrials were overshadowed by the immunity Morsi had granted himself.

"Egypt needed judicial reform and the public prosecutor is a Mubarak holdover, but granting the president absolute power and immunity is not the way to do it," she said. (ANI)

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