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Reactions to the Egyptian military's power grab

In the past week, Egypt dissolved parliament, gave a constitutional super-vote to its generals, and reinstated sweeping powers of detention over security concerns. A roundup of reactions.

By Staff writer / June 19, 2012

Tens of thousands of Egyptians are gathering in Cairo's Tahrir Square, angry at events of the past few days and over the likelihood that Hosni Mubarak's last Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq, may have just won the presidency.

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The votes are still being counted with results expected Thursday. The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi and Mr. Shafiq have both declared themselves the victor. Who won? Who knows? But what's certain is that Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has declared its intention to maintain control of Egypt's politics and its own affairs. The parliamentary election that the Muslim Brotherhood won has been cancelled and the military has appointed itself an interim ruler with sweeping powers, including oversight of the constituent assembly that's supposed to write a new Egyptian constitution. For added turmoil, an Egyptian court is considering outlawing the Brotherhood and its new political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party.

For now, the military order that has governed Egypt for 50 years remains in charge, never mind that Mr. Mubarak was pushed from power a year and a half ago.

Rami Kouri, the long-time editor of Lebanon's Daily Star, thinks the Egyptian military has overreached and will reap the whirlwind:

The power grab in the past week by the Egyptian military and lingering Hosni Mubarak-era establishment, operating through the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), is such a blatant attempt to prevent a truly democratic and republican system of government from taking root in the country that it cannot possibly succeed. It will generate tremendous counter forces in society from tens of millions of ordinary and politicized Egyptians, who insist on achieving the promise of the January 2011 revolution that toppled Mubarak, and ushered in a slow transition to a more democratic system of governance... This display of monumental political greed, shortsightedness and sheer stupidity will now send Egypt into a protracted period of political struggle, in which various political forces in the country compete openly for power and legitimacy

Ashraf Khalil, a Cairo-based journalist and author of Liberation Square: Inside the Egyptian Revolution and the Rebirth of a Nation, is glum.


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