On Sunday, Egypt’s President, Mohammed Morsi, ordered the retirement of Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, Egypt’s Defence Minister and Head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF); the Army Chief of Staff, Sami Anan; the Head of the Navy, Navy Commander Mohab Memish; the Head of the Air Force, Air Force Commander Reda Hafez; and the Head of the Defence Branch, Air Defence Forces Commander, Abdel Aziz Seif El Din.
Morsi also nullified the constitutional declaration issued by the SCAF which blocked the People’s Assembly from returning to its work replacing it with a new constitutional declaration giving the president all the powers of SCAF.
Tantawi was awarded the Order of the Nile and Anan was awarded the Order of the Republic.
The President appointed senior judge, Mahmoud Makki, as vice president and named Abdel Fattah Al Sissi the new Minister of Defence and Military Production. He also named Mohab Mamish as Executive Chairman of the Suez Canal and Abdel Aziz Seif as Chairman of the Arab Industrial Authority.
Presidential Spokesman, Yasser Ali, said that Morsi’s decisions are geared toward “the completion of the goals of the January 25 revolution.”
Observers view Morsi’s latest decisions as “the most revolutionary” among the steps he has taken since he became President. It is believed that they indicate the President has assumed his powers and ended his conflict with the SCAF, siding with the revolution against the remnants of Mubarak’s regime that depended on it.
The decisions have provoked speculation as to whether Morsi coordinated his action with members of SCAF. It is widely believed that Morsi’s actions come within the context of purging the state’s institutions and against the backdrop of recent events in the Sinai that saw 16 Egyptian soldiers killed by militants.