Daily Video

November 26, 2012

Egypt’s President Claims New Powers

Nearly two years after the protests that led to the downfall of longtime Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, demonstrators took to the streets in Egypt to express their anger against their new leader, Muhammad Morsi.

Morsi, who took office in June as the result of the first free elections in Egypt in nearly fifty years, announced that he was granting himself sweeping new powers that he claims are necessary to ensure progress.

Morsi decreed that he was exempting himself from judicial review and assuming authority to take steps against “threats to the revolution.”

Supporters of the president insist that these powers are only temporary, and will be repealed once the new constitution is approved. However, critics doubt that he will let go of power when the time comes.

“This is just a new era of dictatorship in Egypt. This is not what the revolution was about. The revolution was about stripping the president from all these unquestioned rights. And now there is just — we are way stepped back than where we were before,” said protester Hazem Meshaabin.

Earlier in the week, world leaders had praised Morsi for brokering a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after they began trading rockets across the border of the Gaza strip.

Quotes

“Yes, he might be a dictator for the time being or might have unprecedented power throughout this period of two months, but, after that, these powers will be transferred to an elected parliament,” – Mohamed Adel, Egypt.

“This is just a new era of dictatorship in Egypt. This is not what the revolution was about. The revolution was about stripping the president from all these unquestioned rights. And now there is just — we are way stepped back than where we were before,” – Hazem Meshaabin, Egypt.

Warm Up Questions

1. What is the difference between the executive branch and the judiciary?

2. Where is Egypt? What do you know about Egypt?

3. What is a revolution?

Discussion Questions

1. Does the U.S. president ever assume extra power? Explain.

2. Do you think Morsi’s excuse of taking steps to stop “threats to the revolution,” is a legitimate reason for taking power? Why or why not?

3. Do you think there will ever be a revolution in the United States? Why or why not?

Additional Resources

Video Transcript

In Test of Democracy, Egypt Disqualifies Leading Presidential Candidates

Teen Documents Street Life Amid Change in Egypt

Lesson Plan: Historic Changes in Egypt: Lessons in Democracy, Culture, Technology

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