The public gaze is being cast on possible changes in the leadership of Egypt’s 27 governorates.
“Most people expect that [President Mohamed] Morsy will replace the governors before the election because then they could have enough power to manipulate the process,” said Hoda Zakaria, a professor of political sociology at Zagazig University.
She spoke a day after a Wednesday report in Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper stating that the Freedom and Justice Party had sent a letter to President Morsy recommending changes in the governorates of Aswan, Sohag, Qena, Suez, Port Said, Sharqiya, and Alexandria.
The governor’s office in Alexandria is already a site of contention as leftist groups have rallied to protest the appointment of FJP member Hassan Al-Brince as deputy governor, a position the groups say is only a temporary stop on his path to be governor.
The leader of the 6 April movement, Mohammed Adel, confirmed the anxiety. “We have not heard any announcements yet, but our information from the FJP tells us that there will be a change in governors soon.”
“He is making decisions in a way that is not democratic,” Zakaria said, referring to Morsy. “Most Egyptians now know that he has a staff that belongs to the [FJP] and they are trying hard to influence Morsy’s decision making process. They put pressure on the president. Media and the public will criticise, but then he will just say, ‘sorry, it was a misunderstanding,’ like when he tried to get rid of the prosecutor general.”
Despite the protests in Alexandria, Adel said that no additional actions are being prepared in the event of gubernatorial replacements.
Still, it is unlikely that the changes would come about quietly.
The aforementioned attempts to fire the prosecutor general were covered exhaustively by the media, and the release of an FJP backed draft-constitution brought thousands to the streets to protest against it.
“He doesn’t know well the limits of his authority,” said Zakaria.
Similar to episodes with the legislature, the constituent assembly, the military leadership, and the courts, the governorships will be another realm to test the powers of the new presidency.