When Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s president, took office he pledged to tackle more than 60 specific issues within three months. That was exactly 100 days ago and by the president’s own count, he feels he has done rather well.
“Morsi just like any other person doesn’t have magic touch …. He hasn’t been in [a] government post before. We have to acknowledge that we suffer from bureaucratic inflation, we suffer from red tape, we suffer from corruption. And all of these political symptoms prevailed during Mubarak’s regime and haven’t been addressed adequately by [the] previous government. I think Morsi overestimated what he can do [during his] presidency and now he has to make rational and reasonable calculation of the situation and tell us [about] his particular plan how [he can] solve the problems.“
– Sameh Fawzi, a political analyst
Speaking to a large crowd in Cairo on Saturday, Morsi listed his achievements in some detail.
He claimed 70 per cent of his security goals had been reached, as had 40 per cent of his rubbish collection targets, and he said he was 80 per cent of the way in ending an ongoing shortage of bread.
According to the popular website morsimeter.com that has been tracking the performance of Morsi’s presidency, 24 out of 57 of Morsi’s promises are works in progress.
But he has in fact only achieved nine of the 64 promises he made.
The website also says 58 per cent of Egyptians are not satisfied with what has been achieved so far.
The president’s domestic challenges go beyond the reduction of traffic and the collection of rubbish. Perhaps the most important of all is to guide the country through the creation of a new constitution.
But the body that is charged with drafting the constitution is seen by many as being overly influenced by the ideas of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party.
Critics fear that the new constituion will not reflect the diversity of Egypt.
However, on the positive side, Morsi has managed to significantly reduce the power wielded by the country’s military and has effectively sent the soldiers and their generals back to the baracks.
“One of the problems [Morsi] he has is, he has very poor advisers, his colleagues in the party now claim that these advisers were appointed [to achieve] political balances and that is a mistake …. You can create political balance in any other way but you need people to advise you properly because again Egyptians now have become results-oriented. They are sick and tired of 7,000 years of people and government neglecting them. They need results.“
– Hisham Kassem, a veteran journalist
But the economy is still reeling in the aftermath of the revolution, and there is a huge budget deficit. And although crime has fallen since he took over, security remains a problem for Egyptians.
Morsi’s critics maintain he has fallen well short of addressing the country’s ailing education and health systems.
In addition to internal matters foreign policy is clearly a critical part of Morsi’s agenda.
In the last three weeks alone, he has visited Ethiopia, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, China, Iran, America, Turkey, Italy and Belgium.
He has sent a clear message to Washington that he is distancing himself from Hosni Mubarak’s unquestioning support for the US, insisiting that foreign relationships will be based on “mutual respect”.
He has subtly shifted the emphasis of the Camp David accords, increasingly making the peace agreement as much about Palestinian aspirations as it is about Israeli Security.
Yet he is ramping up central government control of the Sinai, and clamping down on the illicit movement of goods and people into and out of Gaza.
So, how could Morsi fulfill his promises? And has Egypt’s first post-revolution president been too liberal with his own grades?
To discuss this, Inside Story, with presenter Mike Hanna, is joined by guests: Sameh Fawzi, a political analyst specialising in democratisation and citizenship in Egypt; Hisham Kassem, a veteran journalist and publisher; and Akiva Eldar, the chief political columnist for Haaretz Newspaper and co-author of a book on settlements called Lords of the Land: the war for Israel’s settlements in the occupied territories, 1967 – 2007.
“Every morning the government takes away the rubbish. But the people keep throwing more in the streets. The problem is the people.”
Mohamed Emad, a driver
“Every day we hear of incidents – people being abducted, criminality. There’s no security. The problem has not been solved.”
Sameh Alber, a hotel receptionist