Morsi haunted by MB despite resignation
BY HEBA HESHAM
Cairo: Despite his resignation from the Muslim Brotherhood and its political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), President Mohamed Morsi remains haunted by the group. Skeptics claim his authorities as president will be restricted by his “subordination” to them.
When he was named Egypt’s new president, Morsi’s electoral campaign announced that he resigned from his position in the Guidance Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood and as chief of the FJP, a promise he had made as a gesture of goodwill.
While Morsi was not obliged to do that, the gesture was necessary to restore trust in the group who many say has abused their newfound freedom to operate in the political scene by attempting to dominate it. Nominating Morsi for president in itself was a source of huge controversy as it broke repeated vows not to field a Brotherhood candidate in the race.
But political science professor at Cairo University Hassan Nafea argued that the situation is more complicated and that the FJP is a special case. “Morsi is not the head of any political party. The FJP is a special case as it is affiliated to the MB whose members owe allegiance to its Supreme Guide,” he said. “Egyptians want to know that their president’s allegiance is only to them and their country.”
Nafea added that although laws do not stipulate that the head of a party should resign from his post if elected president; this would be the most favorable scenario so he can devote himself to the country’s numerous affairs.
The FJP has reiterated that the new president will serve all Egyptians and not a specific group, whether he resigns or not. Leading member of the FJP and constitutional law professor Sobhy Saleh said that the party wants to quell the fears and doubts of the people.
However, Nafea said Egyptians are still suspicious that Morsi’s resignation is cosmetic, while his real commitment is to the MB and “to the creed within which he was raised.”
“The only guarantee to a real separation between the presidential institution and the MB will be reflected in Morsi’s actions and decisions as Egypt’s president; first of which is the formation of his new government,” he said.
The FJP, which dominated the now dissolved parliament and was criticized for recurrent attempts to dominate the constituent assembly tasked with drafting the new constitution, is reportedly discussing the formation of the new Cabinet and the party’s share in it.
“This is normal. We are the majority party and we have the right to seek an adequate representation in government. However, there is no discrepancy between our quest and Morsi’s resignation. We have the right to recommend the shape we want for the government just as other parties,” Saleh said, stressing that the party is not the mouthpiece of the presidential institution.
Amr Hamzawy, liberal politician and former MP, agreed that any party has the right to seek the formation of the government; however, it should not control all the country’s institutions. “This is where the real threat lies,” he said.
On the other hand, Hafez Abu Saeda, head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights (EOHR), said on his Twitter account that the next government must be formed by the Muslim Brotherhood and that the formation of a coalition government is doomed to failure because the president and his party have a specific program, and this is democracy.
“The [other] parties and political powers should form a strong opposition front and prepare for the upcoming [parliamentary] elections; if they succeed in getting a majority they can form a government and apply their programs,” he added.
According to Saleh, Morsi had vowed to implement his electoral program, dubbed the Nahda (Renaissance) Project, even if he was not elected.
“We will help him in that because he remains our candidate and the program is still ours,” he said. “Under all conditions we remain committed to our pledges.”
A favorable decision
Given Egypt’s volatile political scene, many argue that while Morsi was under no obligation to resign, his decision to do so was right.
Politicians and analysts believe separating from the group was the best way to ease the tension between the new president and his Islamist political party.
“I believe that Morsi should leave the FJP to assure the people that he is a president for all Egyptians. In most countries a president remains the head of his political party; but such democratic traditions require stability on the political scene which still needs time in Egypt,” said Hamzawy.
Hamzawy added that Morsi should even pressure the MB to codify its legal status according to the Egyptian NGOs law and to make sure it stays out of politics and remains committed to its preaching agenda.
Disqualified presidential candidate Ayman Nour, who is also head of Ghad El-Thawra Party, said that currently the political scene in Egypt faces peculiar circumstances.
“People want to make sure that no political party would dominate the country’s future like the dissolved National Democratic Party (NDP) did under the former regime,” he said. –The Egypt Monocle