By Ian Howarth
Yesterday I asked whether what we were witnessing in Egypt was a democratic coup or a return of the old guard. The removal of Egypt’s first democratically elected president in a military coup was clearly an anti-democratic action, but it could have possibly led to a more plural political settlement within an equally democratic structure.
The events of today seem to suggest that this hoped for good outcome from a bad action is drifting further and further away. The activities and statements of the new government in Cairo seem much more to be aimed at the reestablishment of the old order in Egypt. The imposition of press controls, the arrest of hundreds of senior Muslim Brotherhood members and the talk of the need for a democratic process that
Egypt has been ruled by the military through sham democratic processes for most of its modern history. Abdul Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak were all military dictators who hung up their uniforms and called themselves President so as to cloth themselves in constitutional legitimacy. Mohamed Morsi for all his failings as a politician was freely and fairly elected the President of Egypt. His presidency reflected the true will of the people. However much he may have lost popular support, tanks should never be used to bring about change in a democratic system. If the military government in Egypt seeks to manage an election so that only candidates to its own liking are allowed to contest the presidency then Egypt will no longer be a democracy. It would be no different in its basic operation to the process of vetting presidential candidates in the Iranian electoral process by the Assembly of Experts headed by the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.reflects the ‘true will of the people’, all seem to point to the creation of a military controlled sham democracy. Adly Mansour who was until this morning the President of the Supreme Court was sworn in today as the interim president. His rise to power has been rapid, having only been appointed to the Supreme Court in May. This attempt at constitutionality seems to be little more than an attempt at legitimising a military coup. I would imagine that the vast majority of the real decisions in Egypt tonight continue to be made in the Defence Ministry and not the Presidential Palace.
While ‘managed democracy’ as it is sometimes called by the cronies that benefit from this corrupt system may offer a more stable Egypt; this will be stability bought at the cost of freedom through an oppressive, security state. It was this oppressive system that was overthrown in January 2011. I sincerely hope that we are not seeing its rebirth today.
- Tunisian Marzouki’s party condemns Egypt’s coup (worldbulletin.net)
- Statement by President Barack Obama on Egypt (voanews.com)
- Morsi says he is still ‘legitimate’ president of Egypt (vancouverdesi.com)
- World reacts to removal from power of Egyptian president (irishtimes.com)
- Egypt’s Mansour sworn in as interim president (worldbulletin.net)