Egypt is plunged into political uncertainty again as the military council expands its influence
As a country in the final stages of electing a new president, June was always going to be an important month for Egypt. The unfolding events have surpassed expectations, but for the wrong reasons.
The Supreme Constitutional Court ruled the election to Egypt’s People’s Assembly was unconstitutional only two days before the final stage of the presidential polls. This was followed by a ‘constitutional annex’ by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf), in which it gave itself sweeping legislative powers.
In only a week, decisions were taken that could threaten to undo the gains made by the revolution. Under the new structure, the president will have very little say in decisions until a new constitution is in place.
With hindsight, Egypt has drawn some criticism for failing to unseat all aspects of the old guard and put a robust transition procedure in place. Parliamentary and presidential elections were held before a new constitution was put in place. There is a 100-member constitutional committee, which is only now beginning to draw up a new constitution.
Egypt could have first elected representatives to write a constitution and then held parliamentary polls as Tunisia. The difference is Egypt’s political landscape is still dominated by a military reluctant to have its position diminished.