Egyptian President Morsi losing support amid tension with judiciary

Egyptian President Morsi losing support amid tension with judiciary

Egyptian President Morsi losing support amid tension with judiciary

Morsi supporters hold a poster depicting President Morsi. EPA photo

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s popularity has declined, with only 57 percent of citizens supporting his performance compared to 78 percent after his first 100 days in office, according to a recent poll taken as conflict with the judiciary continues.

The poll, conducted by the Egyptian Center for Public Opinion Research (Baseera) on Nov. 28 and 29 among 2,008 citizens, reflected that the number of Egyptians displeased with Morsi’s performance rose to 33 percent, up from 15 percent in a previous poll, according to Egypt Independent website. An additional 10 percent said they were unable to judge the president’s performance, and 43 percent of respondents said they would be willing to re-elect Morsi, compared to a previous 58 percent.

Top court backtracks

The survey came after the country’s top court agreed yesterday to supervise a referendum on a draft Constitution, one day after calling for its boycott. “The Supreme Judicial Council has met and agreed to delegate judges to oversee the constitutional referendum,” Morsi’s legal adviser, Mohamed Gadallah, told Reuters. In accordance with Egyptian law, about 10,000 members of the judiciary are needed to monitor the vote, he said. These do not all have to be judges and could include officials in prosecutors’ offices, for example.

 The influential Judges’ Club urged colleagues on Dec. 1 to shun the referendum, which Morsi hopes will douse anger over a decree he issued on Nov. 22 that greatly expanded his powers.

Such a boycott, even if not all judges participate, could undermine the credibility of the plebiscite and worsen disputes that have plagued Egypt’s path to political change since a popular revolt overthrew Hosni Mubarak nearly 22 months ago.