Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood warned on Friday that a court ruling to dissolve parliament and let Hosni Mubarak’s former prime minister run for president is a move toward reversing the gains of the revolution.
The group became the biggest party in parliament last year after elections that were seen as Egypt’s first democratic balloting in generations, but Thursday’s court decision dissolved that power base and leaves the country without a legislature.
Power is concentrated even more firmly in the hands of the generals who took over from Mubarak.
The Brotherhood now has its hopes pinned on a presidential runoff vote this week that pits its candidate Mohammed Morsi against Ahmed Shafiq, who was Mubarak’s last prime minister and is seen by many as a symbol of the ousted regime. The country is facing a situation that is “even more dangerous than that in the final days of Mubarak’s rule”, the Brotherhood said in its statement.
The court ruling on Thursday came a day after the ruling generals’-appointed government agreed to extend the powers of military police and intelligence agents to allow them to arrest civilians for a wide range of offenses.
The Brotherhood said progress made since Mubarak was ousted on February 11, 2011, was being “wiped out and overturned”, and it called on Egyptians to “isolate the representative of the former regime through the ballot box”, referring to Shafiq.
Activists who engineered Egypt’s uprising have long accused the generals of trying to cling to power, explaining that after 60 years as the nation’s single most dominant institution, the military would be reluctant to surrender its authority or leave its economic empire to civilian scrutiny.
One of the youth groups, the April 6 movement, which has thrown its support behind Morsi, planned a march to Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday afternoon dubbed “No to the military’s soft coup”.
But the Brotherhood did not call on its members to participate.
“We are going to the ballot boxes to say no to the losers, the killers, the criminals,” Morsi said during an interview on Thursday evening on the Arabic satellite channel Dream 2.
He also softened the rhetoric, saying he does not see the court rulings as a military coup against the revolution, despite a statement by a senior Brotherhood member earlier on Thursday.