Egypt Military Issues Decree Giving Armed Forces Sweeping Powers as Early Results of Presidential Vote Trickle In
Shortly after polls in Egypt’s landmark presidential vote closed Sunday night, Egypt’s military leaders issued a constitutional decree that gave the armed forces vast powers and appeared to give the presidency a subservient role.
The declaration, published in the official state gazette, establishes that the president will have no control over the military’s budget or leadership and will not be authorized to declare war without the consent of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
The document said the military would soon appoint a body to draft a new constitution, which would be put to a public referendum within three months. Once a new charter is in place, an election will be held to chose a parliament that will replace the Islamist-dominated one dissolved Thursday by the country’s top court.
“With this document, Egypt has completely left the realm of the Arab Spring and entered the realm of military dictatorship,” said Hossam Bahgat, a prominent human rights activist. “This is worse than our worst fears.”
The decree came as the Muslim Brotherhood said that a small sample of preliminary counts from polling stations around the country showed its candidate, Mohamed Morsi, ahead of former prime minister Ahmed Shafiq in the presidential runoff vote. Shafiq is widely seen as a military-backed candidate.