MonitorsPublished on Jul 09, 2013
President Mohammed Morsi was ousted from power by the military on Wednesday and has now been placed under house arrest along with many members of the presidential team. This announcement was met by cheers from the public.
Morsi ousted, violent clashes erupt between rival factions

President Mohammed Morsi was ousted from power by the military on Wednesday and has now been placed under house arrest along with many members of the presidential team. This announcement was met by cheers from the public. Massive celebrations took place at Tahrir Square.

Chief of Egyptian armed forces Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told the Egyptian public that after a meeting with all parties involved, the constitution has been suspended with plans to hold early presidential elections. He also said that next on the agenda is formation of a national coalition government and a committee to look into amendments of the constitution. The head of Egypt’s High Constitutional Court, Adly Mansour has been sworn in as interim President.

This development has led to increase in security measures nationwide as clashes between rival camps have resulted in the death of 46 people and left over 1,400 injured. There have been clashes in Egypt’s main cities, Cairo and Alexandria.

Mass demonstrations were also held in support of the recent military intervention and ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi. The Muslim brotherhood has released statements blaming Western governments in Morsi’s overthrow. Mohamed El-Beltagy, a senior Brotherhood politician, recently said, "We feel, with great regret, that the international community is somehow intervening in recognition and support of the military coup. This restores the state of hatred towards those European and American nations whose states always stand with despotic regimes against nations looking for freedom." The Muslim Brotherhood has now called for an uprising asking the Egyptian public to rise against people who "want to steal" the revolution.

Meanwhile, Ziad Bahaa El-Din, founding member of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, has been offered the post of Egypt’s new prime minister. The post of vice president of the nation has been offered to liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei.

Interim President Adly Mansour has also appointed Judge Hamed Abdullah as head of Supreme Judicial Council and prominent journalist Ahmed El-Moslimany as media consultant to the interim president.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Al Ahram, July 03, 06, 07, 08, 2013.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Leadership change in Syria’s ruling party

Syria’s most powerful political party, the Baath party, has replaced its top leadership with 16 new members. This change is said to be the result of discontent within the party and the leadership’s failure to resolve the Syrian crisis.

Director of the Damascus Centre for Strategic Studies, Bassam Abu Abdullah, has said, "There has been a lot of criticism from within the base towards the leadership, which has been accused of being inflexible, both before and since the crisis. A complete change indicates the failure of leadership and the dissatisfaction from within the Baath party base."

This development comes after the resignation of Syria’s interim rebel Prime Minister Ghassan Hitto, who quit four months after his appointment citing failure to form a government as the reason.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Al Jazeera, July 09, 2013

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, new emir of the State of Qatar

After 18 years of power, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani transferred power to his son Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, making him the new emir of the State of Qatar. The outgoing ruler addressed the nation, saying, "As I address you today; I declare that I will hand over the reins of power to Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani; and I am fully certain that he is up to the responsibility; deserving the confidence; capable of shouldering the responsibility and fulfilling the mission. I am fully certain that you will be his support as you has always been mine; simply for the reason that in our nation run deep between the ruler and his people pledges of alliance; deep solidarity; and profound originality, cemented by our deep rooted traditions and glorious history."

In his speech, he also urged people to protect their identity, saying, "As I am confident that you are fully aware of your loyalty and of your Arab and Muslim identity; I urge you to preserve our civilized traditional and cultural values, originating from our religion, Arab identity and above all our humanity; as we believe that the Arab World is one human body; one coherent structure; it prospers if all its parts are prosperous."

The new emir recently addressed his people, promising to continue his father’s growth projects and reform agenda. The main focus of his speech was domestic affairs of the nation. He also emphasised the importance of development and training of human capital and the need to increase the productivity of the nation, not just its wealth. Talking about sectarianism and religious divisions, he said, "We are not part of any regional trend against any other. Qatar is committed to its promises and relations, but we have a vision and we don’t wait for orders from anyone."

He mentioned Qatar’s commitment to the cause of Palestine and its work towards ending Israeli occupation.

< class="text11verdana">Source: Al Jazeera, June 25, 26, 2013.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Tunisia’s Tamarods demand dissolution of government

In an attempt to recreate Egypt’s Tamarod protest movement in Tunisia, activists have claimed that they have collected significant support for dissolution of the government.

Tunisia’s Tamarod was formed last month and consists of young activists who have demanded the immediate dissolution of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), early presidential elections, and the preservation of the 1959 Tunisian Constitution, although with amendments. They claim to have already gathered 75 thousand signatures on a petition stating these demands and plan to gather even more signatures. "The movement has received a huge response from people, especially in interior regions, who swarmed to sign the petition and declared their readiness to move towards the capital in order to put pressure on the government. Our plan of action covers all regions in Tunisia, from Bizerte to Ben Gerden, and we have a coordinator in every city", said Hela Kraim, a member of Tamarod.

This movement seeks to overthrow the government led by the Ennahdha party, which has an Islamist ideology similar to the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt. Critics of the Tamarod have said that the movement calls for violence due to its name, which means "rebellion" in Arabic. Ennahdha spokesman Zoubeyer Chhoudi, has said that Tamarod "is a test for our elite and we will see how it goes." He also asserted that there is little possibility that a movement like this could be successful in Tunisia as their government is more open to compromise and dialogue than Morsi’s party was in Egypt.

Mohamed Bannour, a leader in the movement, has claimed that this is a peaceful movement and only seeks to rebel against tyranny and the ’Islamization’ of the country. He also said, "We push people towards popular protest and if we reach two million signatures, we will organize a big demonstration in the capital, Tunis."

The opposition party Nidaa Tounes has also called for dissolution of the country’s current government. As per the party, the country’s government is "marked by the absence of electoral legitimacy and consensus," and the new constitution being drafted in the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) has been dominated by the ruling Ennahdha party and its "allies." It has accused the government of "the exploitation of the justice system for use against rivals," and "the incitement of violence to a degree that threatens the political and civilian stakeholders." Among the challenges faced by the nation, it highlighted the critical issues such as, "price increases which burden citizens, the continuing marginalization of unemployed youth from work, and pursuing a biased political recruiting process." "The Nidaa Tounes leadership is totally aligned with the people’s will and youth, and it announces that now it’s time to reconsider the whole path towards transitional democracy," the communique claimed.

Meanwhile, Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki has criticised the Egyptian military’s ouster of Mohammed Morsi, asserting at the same time, that such events would never take place in Tunisia. "It is a failure when a democratically elected president is overthrown and when people demand the end of the president’s term. What matters now is that the army that took the responsibility of deposing the president <...> organizes as soon as possible favourable conditions for elections. A military coup sends a dangerous message to the Arab people; it hampers the democratic transition and sows despair among the peoples of the region". He further added, "People are carrying out protests , but these are organized protests with permits. Tunisian authorities should think of it as a signal, be careful, and understand the tremendous demands."

< class="text11verdana">Source: Tunisia-live, July 04, 05, 2013.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Barzani’s term extended for two more years

In addition to extension of the term of the parliament till November 01, 2013, the term of the President of Kurdistan Region, Masoud Barzani, has also been extended for two years after the end of his current term by the parliament of Kurdistan Region. The head of the Kurdistani bloc, Suzan Shihab, said in a statement, "According to these two laws, the term of the parliament will be extended till the 1st of November 2013, if the parliamentary elections be held on the 21st of September 2013 and the second decision is to extend Barzani’s term for two more years where the constitution of Kurdistan Region will be amended during this period."

Talibani’s party, Patriotic Union of Kurdistan have given their agreement on this extension. MP, Latif Nirawi, member of the central office of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, recently said, "The PUK accepts extending Barzani’s term if the Kurdistani Democratic Party headed by Barzani will accept to returning the constitution to the parliament to be amended."

This change has raised concerns about the threat of violence in the region. MP, Latif Mustafa, of the Change bloc, stated, "We are not only concerned over inheriting the authority in KR, but we are also concerned over having violence in Kurdistan Region such as what is happening in the Arab countries. This decision shows that these people do not respect democracy and the peaceful change in the authority where they will be removed from their posts in the same way as in the Arab countries. There is no democracy in Kurdistan Region where the same faces are in the posts since the 1990s, but now they felt that the opposition can affect them and may topple them," he concluded.

Meanwhile, the Independent High Electoral Commission announced that, as per a law issued in 2009, elections of the local governments of Kurdistan Region will be done according to the open-slate system. The elections of the parliament and local governments of Kurdistan Region are scheduled to be held in September 2013.

< class="text11verdana">Source: June 30, July 02, 03, 2013.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Registration process for polls begins

For the forthcoming parliamentary elections, 43 nominees have registered so far. The National Assembly is in its 14th legislative term and the elections are set to take place on July 27. Prominent figures have registered for these polls, including former members of the opposition Ahmad Al-Azemi, who was a member of the scrapped Feb 2012 assembly, Tarqi Al-Mutairi and Mohammad Al-Enezi, who joined the opposition in boycotting the Dec 2012 election.

Many tribes have also begun the process of electing 3-4 representatives in order to secure victory for as many tribal candidates as possible and, thus, gathering more representation in the parliament. There are 35,000 eligible voters in the State of Kuwait who elect a 50-member parliament for a four-year term.

The upcoming polls will be Kuwait’s sixth parliamentary election in seven years. The parliament was scrapped by the Constitutional Court recently on procedural grounds.

< class="text11verdana">Source: July 05, 2013.

< class="heading12boldGeorgia">Hamas against negotiations with Israel

The Hamas movement has termed peace negotiations with Israel as ’futile’ and warned Fatah and the Palestinian Authority to not accept pressure from the United States regarding economic initiatives.

"We in Hamas look carefully at US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to re-launch the so-called peace process, which is based upon an American-Zionist agenda which sees settlements devour land and the Judaization of Jerusalem and holy sites," a statement read.

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, recently held meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to revive peace talks. He has said, "We started out with very wide gaps and we have narrowed those considerably. We are making progress. That’s what’s important and that’s what will bring me back here."

< class="text11verdana">Source: The Palestine Chronicle, July 05, 2013.

(This monitor is prepared by Reena Sehgal, Research Intern, Observer Research Foundation, Delhi)

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