Morsi’s speech lightning rod for opposition

Rana Muhammad Taha
8 Min Read
An image grab taken from Egyptian state TV shows President Mohamed Morsi ahead of his address, in Cairo on June 26, 2013 (Egyptian TV/AFP)
An image grab taken from Egyptian state TV shows President Mohamed Morsi ahead of his address, in Cairo on June 26, 2013 (Egyptian TV/AFP)

A televised presidential address delivered by President Mohamed Morsi to the nation on Wednesday night left most unsatisfied.

Shortly following the nearly three-hour-long address, National Salvation Front (NSF) leader and Al-Tayar Al-Shaaby founder Hamdeen Sabahy described the speech as “boring”, adding that it failed to introduce anything new.

In an interview with television presenter Yosri Fouda, Sabahy stated that the presidential decisions announced during Morsi’s speech are “worthless”, and that they express the president’s tendency to escape from the issue he faces.

Morsi announced a set of decisions on Wednesday, including tasking the Ministry of Interior to establish an anti-riot squad, forming a committee to amend the 2012 constitution and inviting participation from all political movements, forming a national reconciliation committee, ordering ministers and governors to fire all corrupt officials, and ordering the closing down of all gas stations which refuse to provide gas.

Sabahy stated that the aforementioned decisions could have been made by the governor, adding that the president’s speech went below the level of his mandate.

“The only decision we waited for … was for the president to respect the people’s will and step down, holding early presidential elections where he can run as candidate once more,” Sabahy said.

Former presidential candidate Khaled Ali described the speech as “detached from reality.”

“Morsi doesn’t grasp the true size of the people’s rage against his rule,” Ali said on his personal twitter account. “Each statement made during that speech confirms that revolting against this oppressive regime is a national necessity.”

NSF leading figure Amr Hamzawy outlined the “arts of oppressive rhetoric” in Morsi’s speech through a string of personal tweets.

“The arts of oppressive rhetoric in Morsi’s speech include vowing to get back at the conspirators and threatening the people who fail to see his achievements,” Hamzawy said. “They pretend to admit making mistakes yet fail to name those mistakes.”

Hamzawy stated that Morsi’s speech is proof of his failure and his inability to create change. He added that there is no alternative to demanding early presidential elections.

Mahmoud Badr, Tamarod rebel campaign spokesperson, stated that Morsi’s speech reassures the campaign that they are on the right track. Badr said that after the success of the campaign, the president has come to establish a committee to amend controversial articles within the constitution.

“We tell Morsi: it’s too late,” Badr said.

Tamarod was the first to call on Egyptians to join nationwide protests on 30 June demanding early presidential elections.

6 April movement stated that Morsi’s speech is nothing but “a mixture of delusions, lies and irresponsible talk which doesn’t rise up to the level of Egypt’s president”. The movement released an official statement on Thursday in which it said Morsi failed to meet their expectations in announcing early presidential elections.

“We reject this beguilement exercised by the Muslim Brotherhood through describing the opposition as remnants of the former regime,” the statement read.

Masr Al-Qawia Party, led by former Muslim Brotherhood member and former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abul Fottouh, criticised the president’s speech in an official statement, claiming that the speech revealed that Egypt has transformed into two worlds: virtual Egypt and the real Egypt.

The party stated that figures and statistics cited by Morsi would not change reality.

“Borrowing expressions from Mubarak’s speeches … proves that we’re still run by Mubarak’s regime and governed under his rule,” the statement read.

The party added that the speech confirmed the necessity of holding early presidential elections.

6 April movement, led by Ahmed Maher, also criticised the speech’s failure to present any new solutions to the problems that citizens face daily. Movement spokesperson Khaled Al-Masry stated that the president still lacks a political vision for the future.

Al-Masry criticised the president’s attempt to “placate” the armed forces, the police, and those planning to take to the streets on 30 June.

“We will continue to rally for early presidential elections,” Al-Masry said.

Movement leading member Mohamed Adel stated that Morsi refrained from adequately addressing the labour and social protests that took place during his first year in power, criticising the president for failing to provide solutions for the workers’ problems.

No Military Trials movement member Ragia Omran slammed Morsi’s denial that a single civilian remained in military detentions, describing it as “total lie”. Through personal tweets, Omran stated that a number of civilians remain detained pending military trials.

Omran also criticised Morsi’s denial of the existence of political detainees, citing the case of political activist and blogger Ahmed Doma, who has been detained since April for insulting the president.

Essam Al-Erian, deputy chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party, commented on Morsi’s speech, describing it as “good.” In press statements made on Thursday, Al-Erian stated that Morsi delivered a clear message to those who host former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq in their television shows, adding that this cannot go on.

“President Morsi differentiated between real opposition and thuggery,” state-run Al-Ahram quoted Al-Erian as saying. “What’s being practiced in the streets right now are clear acts of thuggery which involve attacking mosques …”

Alaa Abul Nasr, secretary general of the Building and Development Party (BDP), stated that the speech reflected utter calmness and confidence on the president’s side. Abul Nasr, leading figure in Al-Jamaa Al-Islamiya and its political wing the BDP, said in a personal statement that the speech revealed Morsi is both optimistic and not worried.

“He made important, though late, decisions,” Abul Nasr said. He added that the delayed arrival of Morsi’s decisions detracted from its importance. “For the first time, Morsi’s speech reflected strength and firmness.”

The Salafi Al-Nour Party’s leading figure Galal Morra announced the party was forming a committee to “study” Morsi’s speech. The party has yet to release an official statement regarding its reaction to the speech, party spokesperson Nader Bakkar said.

Earlier this week, the presidency announced that Morsi would address the nation in a televised speech. Assistant to the Egyptian President for Political Affairs Pakinam El-Sharkawy stated that the “speech will offer a ‘balance sheet’ for his first year in office, which is a democratic tradition reflecting the values of transparency and accountability upheld by the regime of the 25 January revolution.”





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