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Morsi and Egypt's Military

Yezid Sayigh analyzes Egypt's civil military relations under President Mohammed Morsi.
A soldier stands in front of a mural depicting Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak (R), former Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi (C) and Egypt's President Mohamed Mursi drawn on the wall of the presidential palace in Cairo December 12, 2012. Egypt's liberal and secular opposition said on Wednesday it would back a "no" vote in a referendum on a divisive new constitution promoted by Islamist President Mursi, calling off a boycott as long as safeguards are in place for a fair vote.   REUTERS/Khaled Abdu

Six months into the presidency of Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s new constitution has granted the Egyptian Armed Forces (EAF) greater autonomy and a more formal political role than they ever enjoyed under his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak. Morsi and the Islamist majority in the Constituent Assembly may have found it expedient to agree to the EAF’s terms in order to ensure the forces’ neutrality in the current phase of the country’s democratic transition, but this will prove costly.

Mammoth tasks lie ahead for Egypt’s new, democratically elected civilian authorities. They will need to change how the state-owned commercial sector and public enterprises work in order to unlock the national economy’s potential for sustained and equitable growth. The state’s massive civilian bureaucracy desperately needs sweeping administrative reform. And the civilian authorities will have to democratize and decentralize the country’s local government structure from top to bottom.

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