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Mixed reviews greet Morsi's first 100 days in office

Video by William EDWARDS

Latest update : 2012-10-08

Ahead of marking his first 100 days in office on Sunday, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi aimed to highlight his achievements in a speech before tens of thousands late on Saturday, although critics say he has failed to deliver on key promises.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi spoke for nearly two hours at a rally late on Saturday in which he tried to explain why he has achieved only “about 70 percent” of what he said he would accomplish in his first 100 days in office during last spring’s presidential campaign.

"When election results were announced and I took up responsibility on June 30, I announced a clear programme," Morsi told the crowds, referring to his initial 100-day plan, which focused broadly on issues ranging from the quality of subsidised bread to security concerns.

"What has been achieved is not enough, of course, but what has been achieved by professional standards is about 70 percent of what we targeted during those 100 days," he told the tens of thousands gathered at a Cairo stadium to mark the anniversary of Egypt's crossing of the Suez Canal in the October 1973 war against Israel.

Morsi said he had been mostly successful in keeping his campaign promises to end fuel shortages, crack down on crime, clean the streets of trash and ease traffic congestion. The president gave himself an 85 percent success rate on ensuring access to fuel, 70 percent on increasing security and 60 percent on improving traffic conditions, but rated himself at only 40 percent on his rubbish collection pledges.

His supporters also cite his success in ousting the military council that took over from deposed leader Hosni Mubarak, an achievement that symbolised the supremacy of Egypt’s civilian government over military rule.

Many Egyptians acknowledge that crime rates have dropped since Morsi took office, but they remain high compared to before Mubarak’s ouster in early 2011. Some types of fuel such as butane remain in short supply and long waits at gas stations are still common.

A website set up to track his pledges, called the Morsi Meter, contradicted the president’s claims of success, saying he had only achieved only nine of the 64 goals he promised to fulfill.

Morsi told the crowd that corruption was largely to blame for the lack of progress, but made clear that his fight had just begun.

“I will not rest as long as there is corruption in Egypt,” said Morsi, a member of the moderate Islamist Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest political group. “Corruption isn’t the only reason I haven’t attained 100 percent of my objectives, but it’s the cause of much that is wrong in Egyptian society.”

Some analysts said Morsi’s main mistake was overambition.

“When the president promised Egyptions to tackle tough issues, [people] were saying … that’s it’s quite difficult to tackle them in 100 days,” Amr Hamzawi, a professor of political science at the American University in Cairo, told FRANCE 24.

“He promised too much and did not deliver much,” Hamzawi said.

Others, such as former social democratic lawmaker Ziad Bahaa-Eldin, said Morsi lacked any real vision for the country, having focused too much on presenting himself as an alternative to Mubarak.

“He promised to eradicate the former regime's corruption, but didn't say how he will prevent corruption in the future,'' Bahaa-Eldin wrote in a commentary posted on his Facebook page.

Morsi’s speech addressed persistent issues such as the dispute over the drafting of a new constitution only in passing, and failed to tackle many of the difficulties being faced on the country’s long road to democratic rule. Nor did he address growing fears among the country’s liberals, women and minority Christians that reform has been hijacked by Morsi's fellow Islamists.

Many Egyptians want quicker results in a nation where an estimated 83 million live below or just above the poverty line.

Morsi, for his part, remained resolutely positive. “They are trying to find a hole in a seamless white dress,'' he said of his critics. “We have a glorious future ahead of us.''

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2012-10-08

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