Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Support for Morsi crumbles as protests continue

Tahrir Square
Tahrir Tuesday 2 July 2013: fireworks over a mass demonstration against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. (Photo AP)

Mass demonstrations with millions out on the streets demanding the downfall of president Mohammed Morsi continued on Tuesday for the third consecutive day. The Muslim Brotherhood is staging counterdemonstrations, but the turnout there is much weaker. The protesters have the backing of the 22 million signatures that the Tamarod movement gathered under its petition demanding early elections for a new president -  a very significant number if only compared with the 13 million plus votes that Morsi got in 2012 during the presidential elections..  
While the demonstrations continued, the support for the president in his own government was crumbling more and more. The spokesmen for the Egyptian presidency and for the cabinet, Alaa El-Hadidi, both tendered their resignation on Tuesday and also the minister of Sports resigned. On Monday six other ministers resigned, including the Foreign minister Mohammed Kamel Amr, as well as Morsi's adviser, the former Chief of Staff, general Samy Anan. The same day eight members of the Islamist-dominated Shura Council stepped down as well in protest at the simmering political stand-off in the country.
Morsi's position seems to be become weaker and weaker, the longer the situation continues as it is. The president had a second meeting with minister of Defense general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, but no conclusions were made public. So far Morsi had refused to bow down for the ultimatum that the army posed on Sunday, in which he and the opposition were given 48 hours to compromise before the army would step in.
The army leaked some details in the meantime over what its roadmap would look like if it were top take action: it would suspend the constitution, disband the upper house of parliament and force new elections if their deadline is not met. 
The past days and week also opinion polls revealed that most Egyptians are unhappy with Morsi's performance. In a poll by Baseera for Al-Hayat TV eight percent said to believe Morsi's performance was better than expected, 64% believe it was worse and 15% believe it was as expected. Another poll by James Zogby's Arab American institute which was published last week, made clear that more than 70% of Egyptians believe the economic and security situations have worsened. 

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