Seeking to capitalize big on the goodwill he managed to accumulate in negotiating the Gaza ceasefire, Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi today issued a decree calling for retrials of several Mubarak regime officials, as well as announcing that his decisions are completely above the law.
The second part of this decree is a particularly serious claim, and likely sets the stage for the battle with the judiciary, as the decree claims that so decision he makes can ever be challenged in a court of law.
Former IAEA chief and Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei was quick to condemn the move, saying Mursi had appointed himself as the “new pharaoh.” The move aims primarily at stymieing challenges to his appointed assembly penning the post-revolution constitution, but is so far reaching it is likely to bring a lot of other concerns to the fore.
Mursi’s supporters in the Muslim Brotherhood endorsed the move, with thousands celebrating the decree in front of the High Court in Cairo. As with any major power grab, there is going to be a big split between those satisfied with the idea and those who are angry.