Egyptians protest President Morsi's expanded powers; China downplays row over passports; Thai president survives no-confidence vote; Pakistan tests ballistic missile; Spanish banks win EU bailout; and more
Top of the Agenda: Egypt Protests Morsi's Decree
Tens of thousands of people demonstrated across Egypt on Tuesday, with several hundred spending the night in Cairo's Tahrir Square to protest President Mohammed Morsi's assumption of expanded powers in one of the largest rallies (AlJazeera) since the ousting of former president Hosni Mubarak. Morsi backers say the decree was needed to protect the gains of the revolution against a judiciary with deep ties to the Mubarak era, while the opposition claims the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Morsi is a part, has "hijacked" the revolution (BBC). Senior judges have been negotiating with Morsi about the restriction of his new powers, and Egypt's prime minister will chair a cabinet meeting on Wednesday to discuss the situation.
"The constitutional assembly, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, has suffered significant attrition as about 25 percent of members—mostly progressives—have resigned in protest at the way the Islamists are dominating the process. Along with members, the assembly has been losing credibility; rumors abound that the judiciary was planning on dissolving it. But Morsi must realize that he can't just decree stability. Indeed, undermining the country's existing rule of law could be the most destabilizing path," writes CFR's Isobel Coleman.
"Morsi and his supporters may be right in suspecting that old regime stalwarts within the administration are trying to thwart a transition to democracy. But they are equally guilty of pursuing a narrow Islamist agenda. The decision to protect the controversial constituent assembly – packed with Islamists and their supporters – from any legal challenge, seems to provide evidence for that," writes Magdi Abdelhadi for the Guardian.
"All opposition factions are now rallying under the same slogan; no negotiation and no talks until Morsi takes back his decrees. Yet achieving this may lead the opposition to fracture yet again, say analysts," writes Nour Samaha for Al Jazeera.
China Addresses Passport Row
China's foreign ministry downplayed the placement of a new map (Reuters) in its passports that depicts claims to disputed maritime territory after the United States said it would raise concerns with Beijing over the issue and the Philippines and Vietnam condemned the new passports. India responded by issuing visas stamped with its own version of borders.
This CFR Policy Innovation Memorandum discusses the risk of conflict in the South China Sea.
THAILAND: Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra survived a no-confidence vote (WSJ) on Wednesday following a three-day debate conducted by the opposition, as well as public protests against the influence of Shinawatra's brother, an ousted former prime minister.