Politics in Egypt is a mess. The recent removal of President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood party is less of an issue than the process by which he was removed. That process does not bode well for the future of Egypt.
Cynics who believe that working class people are largely apathetic and are unable to take control of their lives need only look to Egypt for a reality check. Briefly, a mass uprising ousted an autocrat, Hosni Mubarak, in want of a democracy. Mubarak was at the helm for almost 30 years as president.
After Egypt established its new democracy, President Mohammed Morsi, essentially a theocrat, was elected – by the people, for the people, as the cliché goes. A mere 18 months later, Morsi has now been removed from office by the military following yet another mass uprising. This incidentally, is the same military that removed Mubarak not too long ago.
The army has installed a caretaker government, with a promise to hold new general elections in three months. The Muslim Brotherhood party has had its wings severely clipped, but will still be allowed to participate in the election. The question is where does this leave Egypt in practical terms?
The most recent mass uprising was driven by secular moderate political and faith groupings (both Islamic and Christian). Essentially, the minorities were not happy with their democratically elected leader, so they made a fuss. Now in a true democracy, that fuss would be fine. This challenge to corrupt elites and to fundamentalist religious parties is wonderfully affirming of the Open Society concept, which embraces diversity and pluralism.
However, forcibly removing an elected president is necessarily a bad thing if one is establishing a credible democracy. While the likes of the US are avoiding calling the military move a coup because they’re not too fond of the idea of a fundamentalist regime in Egypt, a coup is exactly what it was.
If Morsi was alienating a big chunk of Egypt, then it would have been preferable for the public to force new elections while he was still head of state. This would have been on the basis that he had outraged such a significant minority that a ‘vote of non-confidence‘ (in the form of massive demonstrations and petitions) could only be resolved by going to the polls, despite this being in the middle of his term of office.
However, the anti-Muslim Brotherhood coalition, by turning to the military to enforce Morsi’s removal, has reinforced the role of the army as an important power broker and reaffirms its illegal role as a political force outside of civilian control. Forget about the fact that the army has promised a new election very soon, and focus on the fact that it now runs the country openly, in spite of a new constitution which prohibits this. That, is not the power of the people.
If process is not followed, chaos ensues. Even if an alternative government is installed after the new elections, Egyptians will be left with no respect for their own vote. This last move has once again demonstrated to Egyptians that it is legitimate to use force to settle political differences. If that is the precedence to govern, then Wonkie will bet money that civil war is not far away. Welcome to the Arab Fall.
If reading the news about Egypt is far too depressing, then perhaps now would be a good time to be hopeful and get yourself an international lottery ticket, or two. If you’re based in India and the chances of a mass uprising are too slim to enable real change, then you might want to visit this updated website or this Indian online casino website instead.
South Africans wondering if there will ever be a violent reaction against government locally, or one that matters at least, would be better off taking their chances on some South African online casino or visiting this page instead. Stay tuned for Wonkies upcoming article on South African mentality when it comes to politics.
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