In Their Own Words: Mohamed Morsi

Sep 07, 2012

By Garrett Nada

            In just ten weeks, President Mohamed Morsi has gone from political unknown to one of the most powerful leaders in the Middle East. Morsi initially lacked significant powers as president. But he managed to restore civilian rule and take back key powers assumed by the military. The U.S.-educated engineer—a former parliament member and a former member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Council—is proving to be both unpredictable and politically savvy.  

           The Morsi Meter has charted how the president has fared on an ambitious agenda outlined during the campaign to solve Egypt’s problems in his first 100 days. The popular website was created by Zabatak, a non-profit group of young Egyptians inspired by U.S. efforts to chart President Barack Obama’s early progress. According to the Morsi Meter, the president made 64 promises in five broad categories—security, fuel, traffic, food and garbage. By Day 69, Morsi had fulfilled three promises and was working on another 22—with no action on 39.

           On security, Morsi’s goal is to secure Egypt’s streets by improving the police force. He has instituted performance-based benefits for officers, but has fulfilled only one out of 17 pledges. Six more are in progress. On food, Morsi is working to improve the production, distribution and quality of bread in Egypt, the world’s largest wheat importer. Food prices spiked just before Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in 2011. He has fulfilled none of his pledges, although six of the 13 have been started. On garbage, the Minister of Local Development is negotiating contracts to clean urban areas littered with trash, backed up by an aggressive awareness campaign. Morsi has achieved one of eight pledges, with all others in progress.

            Most Egyptians are satisfied with Morsi’s efforts according to a Sept. 3 poll published by the Egyptian daily, al Masry al Youm. It found that 77 percent of Egyptians approved of Morsi’s management of the country and 60 percent indicated they would vote for him. Morsi received 52 percent of the votes in the election.  

           Morsi has gained attention both at home and abroad for a half dozen major speeches. The following are key quotes on foreign policy, the United Nations, Syria, the Arab World, the Non-Aligned Movement, China, Palestine, presidential powers, women, the armed forces, tourism, the judiciary, Sinai, Islam and the economy.

           Foreign Policy: “We are not exporting the revolution. Egyptians do not export the revolution. We do not interfere in anyone’s affairs.” June 30
           “I will endeavor to regain Egypt’s free will in its foreign relations. I will abolish all meanings of subordination to any power whatsoever. Egypt is free in all its actions and discourses.” June 29
           “Egypt is reaching out to everyone for dialogue and cooperation, with a message of peace to the whole world. Egypt is most in need of friends at this stage. It will progress and prosper with the hard work and free will of its people, in a climate quite different from anything it previously witnessed, after the repressive corrupt regime has been removed.” Aug. 29

           United Nations: “We have to revitalize the role of the General Assembly…We have witnessed in the last few month how important it is for the General Assembly to assume a more active role at the time when the Security Council was deadlocked regarding a number of international crises, the last of which was the situation in Syria.” Aug. 30

           Syria: “We should declare our full support for the struggle of those brave men and women seeking freedom and justice in Syria. We should turn our sentiments into a clear political vision that ensures Syria's peaceful transformation into a democratic state that respects its peoples' yearning for freedom, justice and equality. Such a vision must also safeguard Syria from drifting to a civil war or fall victim to sectarian strife. On this note, I wish to emphasize the need to unify the Syrian opposition in a way that guarantees the interests of all factions of the Syrian society, and in a manner that preserves the unity and stability of this great nation.” Aug. 30

           Arab World: “We will work for reviving the system of the joint Arab action and …upgrading the Arab League and the agreement on the Arab joint defense and the Arab common market…Egypt in its new era will not accept any violation of the Arab national security and will be always siding with just and comprehensive peace.” June 30

           Non-Aligned Movement: “It’s no longer acceptable at all to respect the foundations of democracy on the level of the state and to ignore them on the international level, between states…” Aug. 30

           China: “ I also look forward to new horizons of constructive cooperation and economic support in all areas…We want to offer to China and Chinese investors logistics services needed to take large Chinese investment across Egypt and into Africa and North Africa, where Libya and Tunisia are rebuilding.” Aug. 29

           Palestine: “I declare here that Egypt, its people and government and the presidential institution stand firmly with the Palestinian people until they regain all their legitimate rights. We will work to complete national reconciliation efforts of the Palestinian people, so they would close ranks and reclaim their land and sovereignty.” June 30
           “Egypt supports any initiative by the Palestinians that would help them earn membership in the United Nations. Egypt bears responsibility for continuing its efforts to resolve the Palestinian issue.” Sept. 5

           Presidential Powers: “I will not tolerate any curbing of the powers of the President of the Republic. I have no right to give up presidential powers and functions on the basis of which you chose me. This is a contract between you and me. That is the concept of the modern State.” June 29

           Women: “We must also focus on accomplishing the achievements that have been made in meeting the goals of the millennium ... continuing the efforts of empowering women and preventing all forms of discrimination against them.” Aug. 30

           Armed Forces: “The will of the people will never be against the armed forces. It is with the armed forces’ help, after God, that we will protect Egypt’s interest internally and internationally…This president is the supreme head of the armed forces because of the will of the people. I will not allow anyone to offend the armed forces or this nation, or try to obstruct this democratic path which you protected.” Aug. 4
           “My decision [to dismiss Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi] was never meant to embarrass any state institutions; we must remain loyal to those who were loyal, and I meant no negative message towards anyone.” Aug. 12

           Tourism: “We will work together to encourage investment in all sectors, and restore the role of tourism for the benefit of the Egyptian economy and every citizen in Egypt.” June 30
           “Egypt is safer than before and open to all, and Luxor will remain the capital of tourism and antiquities… Here, you have security. Move around freely and make the most of Egypt's climate and ancient civilization. We will do everything possible to ensure you enjoy your stay in Egypt.” Aug. 3

           Judiciary: “Our judges make up the third source of authority, which would always remain strong and prominent. Our judiciary owns its will; it is separate from the executive and it must remain so in the future, to be independent of the executive and by necessity the legislative powers.” June 25
           “I respect the judicial authority and the legislative authority. I undertake my role to guarantee the independence of these authorities and the independence of these two authorities from the executive authority. I respect the constitutional court and its rulings and the judiciary and its rulings and all its institutions.” June 30

           Sinai: “The security campaign in Sinai which I lead myself could not be targeting the residents of Sinai. Rather it is against the traitors, collaborators and killers. We will never be lenient with them and we will forge ahead until we purge Sinai from all hotbeds of crime.” Aug. 12
           “Egypt is practicing its very normal role on its soil and does not threaten anyone and there should not be any kind of international or regional concerns at all from the presence of Egyptian security forces.” Aug. 27

           Islam: The teachings of Islamic Sharia can not contradict with the interests of the people; rather they help realize these interests step by step…Islam responds to all our needs as we seek stability, security and development. We seek to boost our production to meet our needs. We seek to excel in our work in all domains. We move towards a better future.” Aug. 12

           Economy: “We are trying by all means possible...to reduce this deficit, and we envisage that within a few years, within three to five years, this deficit may decrease by a tangible amount…The main axis is investment, encouraging investors, tourism, foreign trade, exports. That is what we are aiming for, more than loans...The tax system needs reviewing so that government support reaches those who need it, not those who don't. There is a gradual plan so that taxpayers bear their true responsibility and pay what they truly owe." Aug. 27

Garrett Nada is a Program Assistant at the U.S. Institute of Peace in the Center for Conflict Management.

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