So that Arab Spring is working out great. And how about President Mohamed Morsi?
From the New York Times:
With a constitutional assembly on the brink of collapse and protesters battling the police in the streets over the slow pace of change, President Mohamed Morsi issued a decree on Thursday granting himself broad powers above any court as the guardian of Egypt’s revolution, and used his new authority to order the retrial of Hosni Mubarak.
Mr. Morsi, an Islamist and Egypt’s first elected president, portrayed his decree as an attempt to fulfill popular demands for justice and protect the transition to a constitutional democracy. But the unexpected breadth of the powers he seized raised immediate fears that he might become a new strongman. Seldom in history has a postrevolutionary leader amassed so much personal power only to relinquish it swiftly.
“An absolute presidential tyranny,” Amr Hamzawy, a liberal member of the dissolved Parliament and prominent political scientist, wrote in an online commentary. “Egypt is facing a horrifying coup against legitimacy and the rule of law and a complete assassination of the democratic transition.”
Mr. Morsi issued the decree at a high point in his five-month-old presidency, when he was basking in praise from the White House and around the world for his central role in negotiating a cease-fire that the previous night had stopped the fighting in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas.
But his political opponents immediately called for demonstrations on Friday to protest his new powers.
And the protests are in full swing. The Muslim Brotherhood's political wing headquarters in Alexandria have been stormed and set ablaze. And there are large protests against Morsi and the Brotherhood in Cairo.
Over at The Arabist yesterday, Nathan Brown argued that the response to Morsi's overreach would only be effective if it was done in unison:
This time, ambitious and assertive courts could tell him no. Various political non-Islamist forces could line up against him. Neutral institutions and professional associations could cry foul. But only if they do so in unison, are they likely to be able to force Morsi to back down or to find a way to temper his power. And there is no easy venue for them to carry out their struggle. Those who oppose these moves need not only unity but a strategy. And that has never been their strong suit.
And if they do fail, then Egypt’s best hope for democracy may be a Morsi metamorphasis into an Egyptian Cincinnatus. Perhaps he will use his authority to protect a process that will build a functioning democratic and pluralistic system. That is not impossible. But it’s an odd way to build a democracy.
But other than that, things are going great.