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Egyptian Leader "Will Have No Choice But to Compromise"
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Egyptians are protesting President Mohammed Morsi's decrees last week that granted him near-absolute powers and immunity from legal oversight. But his key role in securing a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas shows he is a pragmatic politician rather than an ideologue, says a Duke University expert who is available to comment on the situation in Egypt.
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Political Science, Duke University
firstname.lastname@example.org (available after 1 p.m. ET Tuesday)
Maghraoui specializes in political identity, political culture, and Islam and politics, with a focus on North Africa and the Middle East.
"President Morsi's constitutional declaration granting him sweeping powers seems on the surface like a huge democratic setback. However, the move is neither surprising nor as alarming as commentators make it sound. There is little doubt that Morsi is setting up a bad precedent in an attempt to concentrate vast powers with no judicial oversight. He also sharpens the ideological divide between Islamists and non-Islamists, and complicates the possibility of building a national consensus around a constitutional text.
"But all these developments are to be expected in a post-revolutionary situation. The unfolding political and societal transformations in Egypt and in other Arab countries will be messy, uncertain and non-linear.
"What is encouraging, though, is that Morsi will not get away with such a sweeping decree. There are already strong reactions from the judiciary, civil society, the street and from the market, even if the majority of Egyptian citizens probably support the move.
"In the end, Morsi will have no choice but to compromise and as mediation in the Gaza crisis shows, he is a pragmatist politician rather than an ideologue."
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