An anti-Mursi protester chants slogans during a massive protest in Alexandria on June 30, 2013. (Asmaa Waguih/Reuters)
CAIRO - 13 July 2018: A year after millions of Egyptians headed to polling stations to vote for former President Mohamed Morsi in 2012, millions including former Morsi supporters took to the streets on June 30, 2013, calling on him to “leave” his post.
Protesters considered Morsi a puppet controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood group that he has joined since 1979, complaining that the MB group is the actual ruler. The MB was not hated by all youth following the January revolution in 2011, as Egyptian youth did not know how the MB really works. The group was almost silenced by ousted President Hosni Mubarak during his thirty-year term.
However, following the first year of the “MB presidential term”, June 30 protestors decided that the group headed by Morsi deserved a red card. Subsequently, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, then defense minister, announced ousting Morsi, meeting the revolution’s top demand.
Protesters raise their shoes while chanting anti-Mursi and anti-Muslim Brotherhood slogans in Tahrir square as they listen to President Mohamed Mursi's public address, in Cairo June 26, 2013. (REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih)
Along Morsi’s presidential term, many people arguably suffered from the obvious lack of inner security and crucial decisions, and always complained about neglecting the demands of the opposition, alleging that Morsi prioritized his supporters and the group he belongs to.
MB changeable stance
“Although I was imprisoned when it was announced that we would not run for president, but I agreed with [the decision],” Khairat al-Shater, deputy supreme guide of the MB group at the time, told al-Shrouk in an interview in 2011.
Shater claimed in the interview that the military institution said that it was delighted by the MB's decision not to run for presidency or seek the majority of seats in the Parliament.
However, in January 2012, it was announced that the MB's political wing, Freedom and Justice Party, won 235 total seats in the Egyptian Parliament, which represented about 47 percent of the total parliamentarian seats. The FJP was formed following the January revolution.
Moreover, on March 31, 2012, Mohamed Badie, the MB supreme guide, announced that Shater requested to resign from the group to run for president, after he was nominated by the MB. Shater said that he had never thought of taking up an executive post in the state; however, he had to abide by the group’s commands.
Less than a month later, the Egyptian election authority rejected the request of Shater to run for president, due to national legal procedures; the MB leaders were not surprised. Few days before the exclusion of Shater, the group reportedly prepared Morsi as an alternative. Apparently, the group did not dare to risk the chance.
Morsi won the presidential election with reportedly more than 13 million votes, representing about 51.7 percent of the electorate in the second round of the 2012 presidential election, to become the first elected president since the ousting of Mubarak.
Morsi’s 100-day promise
Presidential candidates are used to giving exaggerated promises. More promises can give a candidate, in many cases, better chances.
Following the January revolution, Egyptians were desperate for change, development, freedom and security. Morsi thought he would satisfy people by promising them to solve problems concerning fuel, traffic, security and bread in 100 days. However, many people complained that Morsi failed to fulfill his promise.
The first 100 days of Morsi’s term were not successful, former parliamentarian Bassel Adel told CNN.
Adel claimed that Morsi wasted 40 percent of his time travelling abroad although the 100-day program and the Muslim Brotherhood’s Nahda presidential program which Morsi adopted focused on the internal affairs. In addition, Morsi was late forming the Cabinet which had not shown their efficiency up till now, he said.
Hamdi Bekheit, a military expert, claimed that the Nahda project needs 15 years in order to be achieved. He told CNN that the president and the ruling party exploited the ignorance and unawareness of many people, making promises they cannot fulfill. He added that the Nahda project needed a higher budget than the country could bear at the time.
Bekheit said that the security situation in Sinai had been worsened during the rule of Morsi and the MB, claiming that Morsi released prisoners [arrested during the January revolution] to distract people from questioning him about his promise.
On the other hand, Morsi claimed in the October War anniversary in 2012 that he has fulfilled 70 percent of the goals during his first 100 days.
2012 constitution referendum dispute
In a step that seems democratic, Morsi announced that the Egyptian Constituent Assembly would vote on a new constitution in late 2012. The constitution was seen to be biased to the MB, as Islamist members reportedly represented 76 percent of the Assembly. In addition, legal experts thought it was full of defects.
A more balanced assembly was then formed, including police and army personnel, and representatives of Egypt's churches. On November 16, a few days before the vote, Catholic, Orthodox and Evangelical churches in Egypt announced their withdrawal from the assembly, as it did not support religious pluralism, according to a unified statement from the churches.
Civil movements’ leaders, including Amr Moussa, former secretary-general of the Arab League; Gaber Nassar, former head of Cairo University, Anwar Esmat al-Sadat, former President Sadat’s nephew, in addition to human activists, church representatives and more than 20 members of the assembly, withdrew from the assembly.
However, Morsi insisted on not postponing the voting process and the Muslim Brotherhood amassed more than 10.6 million votes in favor of the constitution, while more than 6 million votes opposed it.
Security in trouble
In the second anniversary of the January revolution in 2013, people demonstrated around Al-Ittihadeya Presidential palace, in a sign of dissatisfaction with Morsi’s accomplishments during the first six months of his term.
Amid mass protests, people were shocked by masked men in black joining them, and trying to turn the peaceful demonstrations into violent ones. The masked men dubbed “The Black Block” reportedly tried to remove the barbed wire atop one of the palace’s walls and threw Molotov cocktail at the wall.
Members of the “Black Block” have then appeared in many occasions blocking main roads and metro lines for a considerable time without immediate response from the authorities. The group has also issued a number of statements citing violence and damage.
Many people considered it too funny to hear that one of the Republican Guard’s vehicle tasked with securing Morsi was stolen in front of his house in Zagazig city.
Media bias to opposition
Hundreds of thousands of people during Morsi’s term had patiently waited every Friday for “Al-Bernameg” satirical program introduced by Bassem Youssef, a media critic who was loved by Egyptians. Youssef had dedicated almost all the content to mock decisions, actions and statements of Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters.
Although Yusuf said in a seminar hosted by the American University in Cairo that he wants Morsi to complete his term despite his objection to his policy, he then promoted for the June 30 revolution on Al-Bernameg and interviewed celebrities who were in favor of protesting against Morsi to force him to leave.
To many people there was nothing wrong with Al-Bernameg’s “merciless” bias due to the program’s satirical nature. However many others, including the brotherhood members, thought that private newspapers, which should not mainly be biased, were very biased to the opposition against the MB group and Morsi.
FILE - Headline of a publication of Al-Masry Al-Youm daily newspaper during Morsi’s presidential term reads: New judicial “slap” to Morsi
Morsi was considered the first president to come in power by a real democratic process. He was the first president to be censured and mocked by almost all private newspapers in various journalistic forms, including opinion articles and even news, without the fear of being punished by authorities.
Although many news articles seemed biased, yet many of them in fact were real. However, they were seen to be exaggerated. Perhaps the “unbridled” freedom granted to the newspapers encouraged many reporters to write everything REAL against the president as such news would be consistent with the public opinion. This probability might be valid as the ultimate goal of private newspapers is to make profit.