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Is Egypt’s president aiming for a civilian democracy or a new dictatorship? Mohamed Morsi’s surprise assertion of authority has left many in the country stunned and asking where it will lead.

By dismissing the top generals and tearing up the army’s attempt to curb his powers Morsi has assumed political, executive and military responsibilities making him potentially more powerful than the ousted president Hosni Mubarak.

But analyst Mohamed Mugahed al-Zayaat says Morsi’s so far unchallenged “civilian coup” might not be all it seems.

“The role played by Field Marshal Tantawi and the military leaders is over. But I believe it was achieved by agreement. The choice of General Al-Sisi [as the new Defence Minister] I believe, is a bid to secure the military as an institution. He was after all the manager of Tantawi’s office for many years.”

The armed forces which had supplied Egypt’s presidents for six decades have so far dismissed any talk of pushing back. On the other hand liberal rivals of the Muslim Brotherhood backed president have sounded the alarm pointing at the growing influence of the country’s Islamists.

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