By Jailan Zayan (AFP) – 4 hours ago
CAIRO — Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi assumed sweeping powers on Thursday, drawing criticism that he is seeking to become a "new pharaoh" and raising questions about the gains of last year's uprising which ousted Hosni Mubarak.
The move is a blow to the pro-democracy movement that toppled the long-time president, himself derided by many as a pharaoh, and raises concerns that Islamists will be further ensconced in power.
Opposition forces denounced the declaration as a "coup" and called for nationwide protests on Friday.
"The president can issue any decision or measure to protect the revolution," according to a decree read out on television by presidential spokesman Yasser Ali.
"The constitutional declarations, decisions and laws issued by the president are final and not subject to appeal."
Morsi also sacked prosecutor general Abdel Meguid Mahmud, whom he failed to oust last month amid strong misgivings among the president's supporters about the failure to secure convictions of more members of the old regime.
He appointed Talaat Ibrahim Abdallah to replace Mahmud and, within minutes of the announcement, the new prosecutor was shown on television being sworn in.
Abdullah later issued a brief statement on state television, pledging to "work day and night to achieve the goals of the revolution."
In his pronouncement, the president also ordered "new investigations and retrials" in the cases dealing with the deaths of protesters, a decision that could net senior military officials and see Mubarak reinvestigated.
He also said no judicial body can dissolve the upper house of parliament or the Islamist-dominated constituent assembly that is writing a new constitution and which has been criticised by the secular-minded opposition for failing to represent all segments of society.
The declaration is aimed at "cleansing state institutions" and "destroying the infrastructure of the old regime," the president's spokesman said.
Ali said Morsi had issued a new law, which is yet to be ratified by the new parliament, calling for the creation of a "revolutionary prosecution" to investigate crimes related to the killing of protesters and to hold accountable anyone who withheld evidence in previous trials.
A senior official with the Justice and Freedom Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, said the move was necessary to guarantee the revolution was on course.
Copyright © 2012 AFP. All rights reserved.
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Just so that there is no mistaking this, Morsi has assumed dictatorial powers and justified it as necessary to protect the revolution and purge the government of anyone who isn't with his program. The new "revolutionary prosecution" smacks of similar courts established after the French, Russian, Chinese, Cambodian and various other totalitarian Revolutions. They will serve to consolidate Morsi's power and terrorize opposition. Given the Islamist nature of the government and it's revolution, any westerners in Egypt are in grave danger. We should immediately evacuate our embassy in Cairo.
Egypt is now an Islamist theocratic state, similar to Iran, but Sunni, rather than Shia. Given the rise of al Qaeda in Libya and among the Syrian opposition groups, and the current unrest in Jordan, it is extremely likely that there will be not one, but four new Islamist states in the region by this time next year. Each of these states will be inimically hostile to American interests, and hotbeds of terrorism, not to mention launchpads for rocket attacks against Israel.