Egypt's Supreme Military Council (SCAF) has issued a series of amendments to its own Constitutional Declaration that effectively limit the powers of the country's incoming president and, many would argue, cement the authority of the army generals in this post-Mubarak era.

"It's a complete coup .... There is a constitutional declaration already in place that has enough powers that the Supreme Council has been exercising. Those powers should have been transferred to the president .... [The constitutional amendment] gives SCAF immunity, in terms of its formation, the longevity of its members staying there without anyone, including the president, having control over them. "

- Rabab el-Mahdi, a professor at the American University in Cairo

SCAF also seeks to control the drafting of Egypt's new constitution.

The once all-powerful position of president has been made largely ceremonial and the move to civilian rule has been put on hold in the interests of what the military calls "national stability".

According to the constitutional amendment, the army says it will be its own boss and the new president will not be its commander-in-chief.

SCAF has given itself control over the country's budget and in the absence of a sitting parliament, the military council will retain what it calls "limited" legislative power.

Rights groups and revolutionary forces describe the amendments as a consolidation of military rule, legalising a process that began last year when the military took over the country.

But as the military entrenched their rule on the ground, the Muslim Brotherhood declared their candidate Mohamed Morsi to be the next president. According to their numbers, Morsi won by about one million votes.

However, his opponent Ahmed Shafiq insists their numbers are incorrect and that counting of votes has not yet finished.

"They announced the declaration before even closing the polls ... without even having any idea [about] the indication of the results, who would go through .... The legislative power is in their hands for only four months, so it is not talking about years, not talking about a long period, it's only for a limited period. "

- Sameh Seif el-Yazal, a retired Egyptian army general

Official results are expected on Thursday after appeals are considered.

In this presidential election, the option for many Egyptians was limited - described by those advocating a boycott as a choice between a military state and a religious one.

So how did it come to this point, and what is left of Egypt's democratic revolution?

On this special episode of Inside Story from Cairo, presenter Mike Hanna, discusses with guests: Sameh Seif el-Yazal, a retired army general and director of Al-Gomhoreya Institute for Security Studies; Rabab el-Mahdi, an activist and professor of political science at the American University in Cairo; and Amr Darrag, a member of the National Committee of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) and the party's secretary-general in Giza.

"The upcoming president will occupy the office for a short period of time, whether or not he agrees. His office term will be short despite the huge efforts exerted in the election campaign. This is simply because a new constitution will be drafted, followed by new parliamentary elections to take on the legislative power and therefore it is not possible in any event for the president to remain in office after a new constitution comes to life."

Sameh Ashour, the head of SCAF's advisory council


  • The Muslim Brotherhood says its candidate, Mohamed Morsi, has won election the Egyptian presidential election
  • The Brotherhood says Morsi received nearly 53% of the vote
  • Morsi was contesting the election against Ahmed Shafiq
  • Shafiq was prime minister under Hosni Mubarak
  • Morsi says he will protect the revolution and promises reform
  • Shafiq says he will restore stability and rule of law
  • The new president will take power without a constitution or a parliament
  • Egypt's military says it will appoint a committee to write a constitution in three months
  • Egypt's Supreme Court ruled to dissolve parliament last week
  • The military says the president will not be the commander-in-chief of the country's army

Source: Al Jazeera