Just as Egypt’s revolution took the world by surprise, so did President Mohamed Morsy’s unexpected assertion of presidential power so soon after he came into office.
On August 12, Morsy forced Field Marshal Mohammed Tantawi and his heir apparent, Lt. Gen. Sami Anan, to retire. No one was prepared for Morsy, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, to pull the proverbial rug out from under the two most powerful and widely hated military officials and to reassert civilian power. In hindsight, Morsy foreshadowed his move against the military in his inaugural speech when he declared that “no institution is above the state.”
In what has become almost second nature in Egypt since the revolution, people took to the streets to express their political views. Following Morsy’s announcement, Tahrir Square was instantly filled with supporters — a powerful reminder of who motivated Morsy to make his bold move.
While ordinary people have shown their approval, the same forces that supported Hosni Mubarak’s regime now insinuate that Morsy has taken his first step toward dictatorship. They dismiss the possibility that Morsy is fulfilling hopes of the revolution that brought him to power, and that he has a right to claim powers that come with his presidency.