The 15 key moments leading to Mohamed Mursi’s downfall

04 July 2013

Over the past 12 months Egypt’s president has alienated opposition groups and the military

Hopes were high following the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak that Egypt would transition to become an inclusive democracy.

But Mohamed Mursi lasted only a year as the first democratically elected president of Egypt. MEED traces the key events leading up to his election, and the decisions that resulted in public opinion, and that of the military, turning against him and eventually leading to his removal from office.

1. April 2012: The Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission upholds an earlier decision to bar 10 candidates from Egypt’s presidential elections. The candidates include ex-spy chief Omar Suleiman, Muslim Brotherhood leader Khairat al-Shater, and the ultraconservative Salafist, Hazem Abu Ismail. The decision forces the Muslim Brotherhood to name a new candidate and it chooses Mursi, chairman of the party.

2. May 2012: The first round of presidential elections are held. Mursi and the former Prime Minister under Mubarak, Ahmed Shafik, emerge as the highest polling candidates.

Mohamed Morsi waves to crowd-cropped

3. June 2012: After the run-off, Mursi claims victory in Egypt’s first democratic presidential elections. He won by a narrow margin, with 52 per cent of the vote. However, only 13 million people voted for him, out of a country of 82 million. His narrow victory, coupled with the dominance of Islamist parties in Egypt’s earlier parliamentary elections, already starts to cause concerns about the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood over Egyptian society, which includes Christian and secular groups.

4. July 2012: Just weeks after taking office, Mursi orders the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated parliament to reconvene. The order comes a month after it was dissolved by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf).

5. August 2012: Mursi sacks the Defence Minister and former head of state Mohamed Tantawi. He also annuls a constitutional declaration issued by Scaf that gave the military control over new laws, the budget and immunity from civilian oversight. The power struggle reflects deepening mistrust of each other as both sides engage a power struggle to shape the future of Egypt.

6. November 2012: Mursi claims a raft of wide-ranging powers in a decree issued on 22 November. The decree puts him above the authority of any court and allows him to take any measures necessary to protect the revolution and national security of Egypt. The move prompts widespread protests, amid fears that Mursi is becoming dictatorial. In response to the protests Mursi pushes through a draft constitution and says he will rescind his new powers once the constitution is approved.

7. December 2012: Mursi scraps a planned wave of tax increases on services and goods including cigarettes, soft drinks, mobile phone calls, water and electricity on 10 December. The measures had only been announced earlier the same day and were part of a plan to restore Egypt’s finances, agreed with the IMF as part of a $4.8bn bailout package seen as vital to restoring the country’s perilous financial position. As a result the IMF package is delayed, and has still yet to be agreed.

8. December 2012: Egyptian’s vote in favour of the new constitution that was rushed through in November. Only around a third of the population is thought to have voted, and the constitution is ratified by 57 per cent of the vote. The document is controversial though and is criticised by human rights groups as ambiguous in places, handing too much power to the military and for putting limits on freedom of expression in the name of protecting religion.

9. January 2013: Mursi declares a state of emergency in three major cities. The announcement follows days of violence and rioting after a court sentenced 21 people to death for their role in riots at the Port Said football stadium.

10. February 2013: The Egyptian government outlines a new economic plan, aimed at cutting the deficit through increasing taxes. Cairo wants the deficit to decline to 9.5 per cent by 2014.

11. March 2013: Egypt’s Cairo Administrative Court suspends the parliamentary elections, which were planned to begin in April. The court said that the electoral law, proposed by Egypt’s President Mohamed Mursi, requires approval by the country’s Supreme Constitutional Court. The elections follow the referendum in December, in which Egyptians voted for the introduction of a much-debated new constitution, which demands that the voting takes place within a two-month time frame.

12. March 2013: Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Services cuts Egypt’s credit rating to Caa1 from B3. It said that the “deep polarisation of the country’s democratically elected government and those in opposition” was the reason behind the downgrade. The move further highlighted how Egypt’s economy was deteriorating as a result of the political turmoil and Mursi’s failure to secure an IMF deal or make progress on improving the standard of living for Egyptians.

Egypt protests

13. 30 June 2013: On the anniversary of Mursi being sworn-in as president, crowds gathered in Tahrir Square, the focal point of the protests which ousted former dictator Hosni Mubarak. Demonstrators accuse Mursi of failing to improve the country’s deteriorating economy and poor security situation.

14. 1 July 2013: The military gives Mursi 48 hours to resolve the political crisis in Egypt, and “heed the will of the people”. If Mursi refuses to meet the deadline, which expires on 3 July in Cairo, the army has warned it will carry out its own “roadmap” to govern Egypt’s future. Mursi responds with defiance, insisting he is Egypt’s democratically elected leader. Clashes between Mursi’s supporters and opponents result in the deaths of at least seven people, although the death toll increases in the run up to the army’s deadline.

Egypt army general Abdul Fattah al-Sisi announces overthrow of president Mursi on TV

15. 3 July 2013: Late in the evening, the Egyptian army general Abdul Fattah al-Sisi announces on TV that it has removed President Mursi from power, suspended the constitution and is installing an interim government. Adli Mansour, head of the Egyptian Constitutional Court, is appointed interim head of state. Just 53 weeks after winning Egypt’s first democratic election on 24 June 2012, Mursi is out.


Read more on the overthrow of Mohamed Mursi in MEED’s Egypt in crisis section

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