Egypt’s Pursuit For Democracy: The Second Uprising

July 12th, 2013 by Abhi Saini

Egypt’s pursuit for democracy continues with the ousting of Mohammed Morsi on July 3th, 2013 by the country’s army chief Abdul Fatah el-Sisi. The decision was made after Morsi rejected to agree with army’s terms to respond to the demands of protestors.

Egypt

Last year in June, Egypt witnessed a mass citizen mobilization to overthrow the government of Hosni Mubarak and replace it with the elected government of Mohammed Morsi to bring in a responsible and democratic government for Egyptians.

During his term in office, Morsi faced criticism for failing to heal the country’s ailing economy, deter crime and produce a democratic government inclusive of all Egyptians interests. Further, he faced accusations for allowing Islamists to “monopolize the political scene by concentrating political power in the hands of Muslim Brotherhood Party.”

Dissatisfied with Morsi’s performance as a leader, thousands of Egyptians, once again, marched to the Tahrir Square to reaffirm their pledge to establish a democratic government. However, this time the uprising focused on reversing the result of last year’s revolution.

Amidst the uprising and mass demonstrations calling for Morsi to quit, his supporters also held demonstrations to show their support for his government and the Muslim Brotherhood party.

Last Wednesday, on July 3rd, the army chief released an official statement noting the ousting of Morsi and the arrest of Muslim Brotherhood’s deputy supreme leader, Khairat el-Shater, and Salafi politician Hazem Salah Abu Ismail. Further, the army named Adly Mansour, former head of the country’s Supreme Constitutional Court, as the interim president of Egypt.

The decision of coup resulted in a clash between Morsi’s supporters and his opponents across Egypt. The post-coup clash resulted in the death of 26 people and left 850 people wounded.

On Monday July 8th, 51 people were allegedly killed when Egyptian soldiers and police clashed with the Islamists at a “sit-in” by supporters of Morsi.

Following the incident, the army released a public statement that a group tried to “storm the Republican Guard compound; killed one soldier and wounded many others.” As a result, the military retaliated against the armed assailants with force and issued an arrest warrant against Muslim Brotherhood’s leader Mohammed Badie, blaming him for inciting the violence.

The Monday killings and the arrest warrant for Mohammed Badie, has further escalated the tensions between the supporters and opponents of Morsi.

Following the clashes, on July 9th, the military backed government appointed Noble Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei was appointed as the vice president and Hazem el- Bablawi as the interim prime minister of Egypt.

The new appointments by the interim president were made to “bolster the secular faction” that will compete for power after the “constitution is amended and new parliamentary elections are held, within seven months.”

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood senior leaders rejected the timetable outlined by the interim president and insisted to withdraw from talks unless Mohammed Morsi was reinstated.

In response, Egypt’s army chief, Abdul-Fatah el-Sisi, stated on state television that “the military will not accept political maneuvering, and the future of the nation is too important and sacred for maneuvers or hindrance, whatever the justifications.”

On July 3rd, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird released an official statement from Beijing requesting all parties in Egypt to avoid violence and “engage in meaningful dialogue.”

Further, he noted “Canada firmly believes that implementing a transparent democratic system that respects the voices of its citizens, and that encourages and respects the contributions of civil society and all other segments of the population, including religious minorities, is the best way to restore calm and give all Egyptians a stake in the future stability and prosperity of Egypt.”

The next few months are going to pose significant challenges to the military backed government to unite a deeply divided country and move it forward towards a successful democratic transition. It will also be interesting to see how the interim government will facilitate the demands of the opposition Islamists or whether the renewed faith in liberal democracy will signal the end of religion led government in Egypt.  

Abhi

 

Read Abhi’s past blogs on Egypt:

6 June 2012: Paving paths to democracy: the dismissal of emergency law and the sentencing of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt

19 June 2012: Election outcomes in Egypt, France and Greece: Abhi Summarizes a Busy Weekend

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