As if Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s Islamist president, didn’t have enough problems.
He recently appointed Adel al-Khayat (left), a former member of the radical Islamic Group, as governor of Luxor province where the group methodically massacred 62 people, mostly tourists, 16 years ago.
To Morsi’s critics, “the fiasco was just another example of the political ineptitude that has come to define the brief rule of the country’s first elected president,” writes analyst Heba Saleh:
The president and his Muslim Brotherhood organisation have brought a combination of inexperience and authoritarianism to government, shattering hopes of a new era
of democracy and prosperity, the critics say…..Disillusioned young activists are now preparing for what they call a “second revolution” to bring oust the Brotherhood. They have collected millions of signatures in a campaign known as Tamarod , or Rebellion, which they hope will force Mr Morsi to call early presidential elections.
“The possibility of heavy violence is very high,” says Khalil El-Anani (right), a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington. “I think it is time for the Muslim Brotherhood to realise they cannot govern Egypt without consensus and without concessions and partnership with other political groups.”
“A draft law backed by the Brotherhood to reduce the retirement age for judges from 70 to 60 has also fuelled tensions,” notes Saleh:
The move is viewed as a way of intimidating the judiciary. Other proposed laws regulating demonstrations and the political process have sparked criticism for being too restrictive and falling short of international norms. The latest battlefield is at the culture ministry, the headquarters of which have been taken over by artists and writers to protest against personnel changes ordered by a minister close to the Islamists.
“It is naive to fight on so many fronts at the same time,” says Mr Anani. “They are in power but not in control. It seems they are confronting everyone at once, from the judiciary to the media to intellectuals.”
A recent poll of 5,000 Egyptians by the US-based Zogby Research group found that support for Morsi fell from 57 per cent on his election last year to 28 per cent in May.
Anani says the emergence of ultraconservative Salafis as a political force has added to pressure on the Brotherhood.
“They are caught between the liberal secular position asking them to give more freedoms and rights and the radical Islamists who want them to be more religiously committed,” he says. “They will not be able to satisfy everyone.”