With his profile soaring in the wake of a successful Gaza ceasefire, President Mohamed Morsi issued an edict declaring himself to have limitless power until a new constitution was put in place.
What followed were weeks of protests from a growing collection of opposition blocs, and a seemingly happy ending when Morsi yesterday withdrew the edict. Bizarrely, opposition leadership, apparently encouraged by their ability to draw a crowd, condemned Morsi for doing exactly what they have demanded, saying it was unacceptable, and calling for yet more protests.
At least they’re hoping for more protests. The average person on the street knew why “all-power president” was a bad thing. Wrapping their heads around the new claim that the withdrawal is also somehow bad is confusing many, leaving a lot of the opposition’s support unsure whether they’re protesting anymore, or why.
Opposition leaders say that withdrawing the edict is a trick attempted to distract from the “real goals,” and say the public needs to continue to protest against “a president who ignores his people.”
A lot of the opposition leaders are objecting to the referendum next weekend on the constitution, but there’s nowhere near unity on opposing it, and there seems a good bet the vote could pass. Some of them are hoping the protests could force a delay or cancellation of the vote, but this is at best peripherally related to the fight over Morsi in the first place, and with a lot of demonstrators not opposed to the referendum as such, keeping rallies in the streets is going to take some doing.
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