Monday, June 18, 2012

Egypt's Military Is Making A Huge Last-Minute Power Grab

Business Insider
Michael Kelley

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
and Egyptian Major General Rouini
on October 4, 2011

Egypt's ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has issued a new constitutional declaration giving it veto powers over the drafting of a new constitution and removing the president as commander-in-chief, reports Evan Hill of Al-Jazeera.

The decree came as the Muslim Brotherhood claimed victory for their presidential candidate Mohammed Morsi. Final results are not expected until Thursday.

Under the declaration the head of the SCAF, former Mubarak-era defense minister Hussein Tantawi, assumes the powers of the commander-in-chief as the military takes on total power to oversee its own affairs, meaning that the president will have no control over the military’s budget or leadership and will not be authorized to declare war without the consent of the ruling generals.

The document also directs that final judgment of the draft of the country's new constitution be referred to Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court — a court stacked with with judges appointed by former president Gen. Hosni Mubarak — which nullified the Islamist-led parliament on Thursday on the grounds that it was appointed unconstitutionally.

The military rulers will name a group of Egyptians to draft a new constitution (which would be subject to a public referendum within three months) and after it's approved a new parliamentary election would be held to replace the Islamist-dominated lower house.

Also last week the justice ministry issued an order granting the military power to arrest civilians, which the military has been been doing unofficially since the uprising, until the new constitution is in place.

Hill reports that the president will still choose his vice presidents and cabinet, propose the state budget, propose laws and issue pardons.

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