Egypt: President Morsi's 100 days in power

By Shaimaa Khalil
BBC News

image captionPresident Morsi has promised to be a president for all Egyptians

In the 100 days of his presidency Mohammed Morsi has managed to surprise Egyptians on many occasions. The very fact that he was elected at all was surprising to many.

Mr Morsi was propelled to power by the Muslim Brotherhood when their original candidate, business tycoon Khairat al-Shater, was disqualified from the presidential race.

This won Mr Morsi titles like "The Accidental President" and "The Spare Wheel".

From the outset there were many doubts about whether he would be able to take charge of a country marred by a collapsing economy and a volatile security situation.

Asserting powers

The country had, for the 18 months before President Morsi was sworn in, been ruled by Egypt's formidable military.

They had a tight grip on power and made sure they continued to do so even after a president was elected.

They announced a constitutional declaration just days before the election results. It gave the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) legislative and executive powers including the ability to veto any article in the drafting of the country's constitution.

But last August, Mr Morsi took the nation - and the world - by surprise when he cancelled Scaf's constitutional declaration and transferred full executive and legislative authority from the military council to himself.

He also forced the Defence Minister Hussein Tantawi and his second-in-command Sami Enan into retirement

He appointed Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the former head of military intelligence, and the youngest member of Scaf as defence minister.

Mr Morsi then continued his reshuffling of Egypt's top brass when it was announced that 70 other generals in the Egyptian armed forces were to be retired.

This was the president's first real assertion of power and many argue his biggest achievement to date.

'Unrealistic hopes'

But this accomplishment was overshadowed by his failure to live up to the pledges he made when he was sworn in.

President Morsi gave himself 100 days to tackle some of Egypt's most difficult problems. This ended on Monday, 8 October.

Traffic, security, fuel and bread shortages and the ever-present piles of rubbish in Egypt's streets were all high on his agenda.

"The expectations that he would deal with all injustices quickly created an atmosphere of hopes that are very high and unrealistic," Hassan Abu Taleb, a political consultant at the Al-Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies told Reuters news agency.

Frequent power and water cuts in the last few months, the continuous long queues for bread, and the uncontrollable congestion of traffic in Egypt were frequently highlighted by the media in the run-up to Mr Morsi's 100th day in power.

"There has been a lot of progress in at least four of these files. People only focus on the negatives," Ahmed Oqeil, Cairo spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) told state owned Al-Aharm Newspaper.

"While Egyptians used to experience recurrent fuel shortages across the nation, now shortages are witnessed less frequently and only in localised areas not nationwide," the FJP spokesman said.


The president's grip on security was critically tested when 16 border guards in Sinai were killed in an attack on the 5 August.

Egyptian security forces have launched a major military offensive killing dozens of Islamic militants.

The build-up of troops and heavy weapons caused concern in Israel.

It also brought to the surface what little control the government's security apparatus had over its borders with Israel.

In addition to battling domestic issues Mr Morsi aimed to make his mark internationally.

To date he has made nine official foreign visits - the first to Saudi Arabia - while others included China, Belgium, Ethiopia, Turkey, the United States, Italy, and a historic trip to Iran.

But he has yet to prove to key allies like the United States and other Western countries that he is an ally worth backing, especially after he failed to tackle the attack on the American embassy in Cairo last month by angry protesters denouncing an anti-Islam film.

Industrial action

Another challenge the president had to face in the past 100 days was the increase in strikes staged by employees in different sectors.

Since early July, transport workers, doctors and teachers have all staged industrial actions demanding better pay and working conditions.

The government was constantly criticised for failing to handle the strikes and its general handling of Egypt's dwindling economy.

A $4.8bn (£3bn) loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which is currently being negotiated caused a great deal of controversy in Egypt.

"Instead of forging economic policies in favour of the poor by setting a minimum and maximum wage, forcing progressive taxation and renationalising the country's robbed companies, [Mr Morsi] chose to side with the rich and follow the same path as the old ruling party in depending on loans," Ahmed Imam, a member of the National Front of the Protection of the Revolution, told Al Ahram newspaper.

Morsi Meter

In his speech marking the 6 October war, Egypt's President gave himself and his government high grades on his handling of some of the nation's pressing problems.

"The Morsi Meter", a website tracking the Islamist leader's achievements in his first 100 days in office, offered a different take on Morsi's performance.

It said the president's achievements have so far been restricted to implementing penalties for fuel smugglers, raising awareness in speeches and through the media about the importance of proper disposal of trash, increasing the value of flour used to make bread, removing road blocks impeding traffic and implementing a reward system for positive performance of police officers.

The speech was criticised and at timed ridiculed on social media, especially Twitter.

"In Morsi's first 100 days of rule: At least 250 strike organisers have been sacked," Hossam El Hamalawy tweeted.

"Parking tickets," tweeted Tamer Badreldin ‏in response to what has been achieved in the 100 days since Mr Morsi came to power.

But others jumped to the president's defence.

"They're doing their best, we have to be patient," tweeted Mohammed Soltan, referring to President Morsi and his government.

Pending issues

Despite those challenges recent polls show a positive national attitude towards the president.

The latest results of the Egypt Centre for Public Research (Baseera) showed that 79% of Egyptians were satisfied with the president's performance while 13% were not.

What the president did not discuss in his speech are key issues like Egypt's constitution which many fear is being drafted by an Islamist dominated body.

Other pending issues include freedom of speech, women's participation in politics and the future of Egypt's Copts who feel increasingly threatened by the rising power of Islamists in the country.

More than any of his other promises, President Morsi has to keep his word about being a president for all Egyptians.