Egypt Independent

World concern mounts after Morsy’s power grab

The United States, the European Union and the United Nations have all expressed concern at President Mohamed Morsy’s decision to assume sweeping powers and exempt all of his decisions from judicial review until a new Parliament is elected.

Washington, which only Wednesday had voiced effusive praise for Morsy's role in brokering a truce between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers to end eight days of deadly violence, led international criticism of the president's move.

"The decisions and declarations announced on 22 November raise concerns for many Egyptians and for the international community," said US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland in a statement.

"One of the aspirations of the revolution was to ensure that power would not be overly concentrated in the hands of any one person or institution," she added, referring to the uprising that toppled former President Hosni Mubarak.

Nuland warned that Egypt's "constitutional vacuum … can only be resolved by the adoption of a constitution that includes checks and balances, and respects fundamental freedoms, individual rights, and the rule of law consistent with Egypt's international commitments."

The European Union on Friday called on Morsy to respect the democratic process.

"It is of utmost importance that [the] democratic process be completed in accordance with the commitments undertaken by the Egyptian leadership," a spokesperson for EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton said in a statement.

These commitments included "the separation of powers, the independence of justice, the protection of fundamental freedoms and the holding of democratic parliamentary elections as soon as possible," he added.

The UN said that Morsy’s move raises very serious human rights concerns.

"We are very concerned about the possible huge ramifications of this declaration on human rights and the rule of law in Egypt," UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay's spokesperson Rupert Colville said at a news briefing at the United Nations in Geneva on Friday.

"We also fear this could lead to a very volatile situation over the next few days, starting today in fact,” he added.

Colville did not specify which parts were most worrying, but said the decree had many aspects to it so it would take time to analyze fully.