Egyptian president called 'new pharaoh' after giving himself more power

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is under fire for a new decree that gives him autocratic power and exempts all of his decisions from legal challenge until a new parliament is elected.

The decree means that “an Islamist-dominated assembly writing the new constitution could not be dissolved by legal challenges,” reports Reuters.

Criticism from opposition politicians was swift. On Twitter, liberal politician Mohamed ElBaradei said:

It’s a marked change in public perception for Morsi who, just two days ago, was being heralded as a peacemaker for helping to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine.

Criticism didn’t come just from other politicians, but also from Egyptian citizens who took to the streets in protest and, according to reports from Egyptian state television, set fire to Muslim Brotherhood offices in several cities.

In addition to giving Morsi more power, the decree also means that people convicted of killings during the 2011 uprising that overthrew former president Hosni Mubarak could be retried, reports the BBC.