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IV Drip

President Morsi of Egypt loses Tahrir Square


Egypt's leader has, according to a reasonable majority of international opinion, had a bad fortnight. Speaking to those around Tahrir Square, the New Yorker's Peter Hessler finds a young, eager, and frustrated population confronting the dashed hopes of the Arab Spring - and profoundly disappointed at the failures of the country's nascent democracy.

As he reports: "While many believe that Morsi is flush with a new sense of power, my instinct is the opposite—that he’s probably frustrated and worried about eroding public support. After seeing one constitutional assembly dissolved in the spring, he’s concerned that the same thing will happen to the group that’s currently working on a new constitution. Likewise, the dissolution of the parliament has left the country without a functioning legislative branch. Morsi, who has never had any experience in a democratic system, has responded by issuing a series of clumsy constitutional amendments that may have been aimed at improving efficiency, but only frighten people and inspire resistance. “I think it’s a miscalculation,” Rami Shaath told me on the square. “He thought that the boost he got in Gaza gave him an international presence.”