Egypt: Further Down The Highway
Just to cover some news items on Egypt:
The very democratic minded president Morsi, who was unable to move the referendum on a new constitution and allow for more time for discussion because that would be "illegal", just issued a decree to change the election law:
Voters will no longer be able to vote outside of their electoral districts in the upcoming constitution referendum, after President Mohamed Morsy amended an electoral law.Yeah, sure. Many who migrated to the big cities of Egypt to find work are still registered in their original hometowns. Those people, likely millions of them, learn now, four days before the referendum, that they will have no chance to vote. Living in the cities might have made them too liberal to allow for that.
Morsy issued an amendment to Law 73 for the year 1956 canceling the stipulation allowing voters tocast their ballots in referendums outside of their electoral districts, a presidential statement on Tuesday morning said.
The president's office justified the amendment by alleging that while allowing voters to cast their ballots outside their electoral districts may be convenient for people, the process can produce many appeals and cast a lot of doubts about the extent to which the referendum is a free and clean process.
The statement also claimed that allowing voting outside of one's electoral district would require supervising judges to create lists for those who are not registered in a given district, imposing an additional burden on them.How nice to thinks of the judges who will not oversee the voting:
The Egyptian Judges Club's general assembly announced at a Tuesday press conference in Cairo its final decision not to supervise Saturday's popular referendum on Egypt's draft constitution.But no matter what the judges say the ride on the constitutional highway to theocracy will continue.
Judge Ahmed Zend slammed the new constitutional declaration issued by President Mohamed Morsi on Saturday, describing it as an "insult" to the judiciary. "The new constitutional declaration still makes the president's decisions immune from judicial appeal," he said.
Morsi is using his decrees and self given immunity not just to get the Islamist written constitution under way but continues to use it to significantly change the Egyptian state system without parliamentary approval and judicial control:
President Morsi is set to issue a modification to two articles in the laws governing the Central Bank of Egypt within days, which grants himself more authority.Controlling the central bank will remove resistance towards foreign credits and will allow him to use money supply as a political tool. These credits will put Egypt further under Washington control:
Notably, the modifications reduce the number board members and alots the president the right to unilaterally nominate the next CBE governor without the usual recommendations from cabinet.
In 2003 the ousted president Mubarak modified the law and was criticised for limiting the CBE's independence.
Morsi's decree further reduces expert membership on the board to four (as opposed to eight in the current law). It also removes the representation by the ministers of planning and foreign commerce, leaving only a representative of the finance ministry.
The United States and a coalition of international lenders are pushing ahead with billions of dollars in loans and other help for Egypt and neighboring states, ...The IMF loan and the tax increases and subsidies cuts will be back in one month after the referendum on the constitution and the new parliament election but probably before that parliament is seated.
The IMF had hoped to move forward this month on a $4.8 billion loan that Egypt desperately needs, as its foreign currency reserves dwindle and international investors pull money from the country. But over the weekend, Morsi reneged on imposing tax increases that the IMF had expected as a way to help bring down the country’s budget deficit.
On Tuesday morning, the IMF said that the Egyptian government had asked to delay further work on the loan “in light of the unfolding developments on the ground.” The tax hikes faced a public backlash at a time when Morsi is also trying to quell opposition to a proposed new constitution.
Egypt’s potential creditors say the situation has left them with a difficult choice: Take a chance on Morsi, or leave the country without a lifeline and surrender the ability to influence the government’s direction.
The IMF loan to Egypt is expected to come with strict conditions attached, including a sharp curb on the use of subsidies.
Local analysts such as Rashad Abdou said they are skeptical and think Morsi is piling on IMF and other debt without a clear long-term plan.
But U.S. and other officials involved in the discussions with the Morsi government use words such as “pragmatic” to describe the approach to economic policy: The Egyptians are aware that outside help is needed to stabilize the country and appear willing in general to meet the conditions. That marks a change from a year ago, when the military council then running the country refused IMF help.
Posted by b on December 11, 2012 at 12:44 PM | Permalink
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