News Analysis: Growing Anti-Brotherhood Uproar Pressures Egypt’s Presidency

The growing voices against Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group, especially after President Mohamed Morsi appointed a number of controversial governors put extra pressure on his Islamist-oriented administration ahead of a planned massive protests on June 30 urged by activists and opposition leaders.

On Sunday, Morsi appointed 17 new governors including seven from the MB and one from the hardline Islamic group Al-Jamaa al- Islamiya, raising the number of Islamist-oriented governors to 11 out of 27.

Dozens were injured Wednesday in Gharbiya and Fayoum governorates during clashes between MB members and protesters against the new governors, who set fire to the group’s office in Gharbiya’s Tanta city. Other anti-MB protesters in Minufiya prevented the new Islamist governor to get into his office, who are still holding a sit-in outside the governorate headquarters.

To protest against the appointment of Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya member as governor of the country’s ancient capital Luxor, Tourism Minister, Hesham Zazou submitted his resignation Wednesday, but Prime Minister Hesham Kandil asked him to remain in office.

“The presidency is facing pressure from the conservative Islamists inside the MB group who want to dominate the state’s key posts and the opposition which wants to oust Morsi’s administration and call for early presidential election,” Ahmed Qandil, a political expert at Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told Xinhua.

Qandil said that the “ultraconservative eagles,” referring to Islamists, want Morsi to deal more strictly with the opposition that urges for massive anti-president protests on June 30, the first anniversary of Morsi’s rule.

“Morsi tries to make a balance by appointing more Islamist governors and urging more development projects to please both Islamists and their opponents,” said Kandil.

A few hours ago, Morsi allocated 4.4 billion Egyptian pounds ( around 629 million U.S. dollars) for the long-awaited development of Sinai Peninsula, which is also seen as an attempt to gain more supporters before the anticipated uproar outside his presidential palace at the end of this month.

The presidency said in a statement that it will deal with June 30 protests “wisely,” while Prime Minister Kandil told reporters at the same day that change should be made through the ballot box instead of demonstrations.

“The presidency is always late when it comes to issues that appeal to the Egyptian people, such as Sinai development and the Nile dam issue with Ethiopia,” the political expert said, noting that the recent presidential actions on both issues were “good but late.”

The Egyptian president is currently facing a rebel campaign that gathered millions of petitions seeking to oust him and calling for early presidential election. The campaign found an echo with the main opposition bloc, the National Salvation Front ( NSF) and a lot of people who are concerned about mounting Islamist domination of the state.

Some MB members detained in the United Arab Emirates have been referred to court on Wednesday over charges of attempting to establish “a Muslim Brotherhood branch.”

Wahid Abdel-Meguid, a second political expert, however, attributed the growing rejection of Morsi’s administration to its “actions,” rather than “Islamist background,” denouncing the recent governor reshuffle that brought more Islamists to power.

“June 30 demonstrations will not be against Morsi as an Islamist but as a political leader,” Abdel-Meguid, also an NSF leading figure, told Xinhua.

Abdel-Meguid said that Egypt is facing real political, economic and social problems and “if this continues for months, not years, it may ruin the country.”

Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsood, legal expert and the Brotherhood’s lawyer, said that “the heavy legacy of corruption and destruction the ex-regime left behind represent the greatest pressure on the current leadership.”

“Given all the plots and campaigns against the president, if he was strong enough, he would have been toppled after one month of his rule,” he told Xinhua.

Abdel-Maqsood added that the UAE issue was “politically motivated,” arguing that the Emirati leadership has been skeptical about Islamists since the 2011 upheaval that ousted Egypt’s ex- president Hosni Mubarak.

 Egypt’s Al-Azhar prestigious Islamic institution stated Wednesday that “peaceful opposition against a legitimate ruler is permissible in Islam,” a statement that adds to the pressure on the presidency, according to analysts.