This move has been criticized by Mohamed El Baradei who stated, Morsi today usurped all state powers & appointed himself Egypt's new pharaoh on his Twitter feed. Liberal and secular groups walked out of the constituent assembly because they believed that it would impose strict Islamic practices, while Muslim Brotherhood backers threw their support behind Morsi. On 5 December 2012, tens of thousands of supporters and opponents of president Morsi clashed, in what was described as the largest violent battle between Islamists and their foes since the country's revolution. Mohamed Morsi offered a national dialogue with opposition leaders but refused to cancel the December 2012 constitutional referendum.Alliance of Population and MilitarysOn 30 June 2013, against the background of Morsi’s doubtful institutional policies, an increasing economic crisis, and wide-spread discontent with the rule of islamists, massive protests against Morsi's rule developed across Egypt.That’s why Morsi’s following deposition by military forces on 3 July 2013, that islamists and Western observers usually conceive of as coup d’etat, better could be considered expression of an alliance between population and military in an extraordinary situation. Indeed, the very harsh way the military-backed Egyptian authorities then cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters, jailing thousands and killing hundreds of street protesters, shows clear features of authoritarian military rule. Many of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders and activists have either been sentenced to death or life imprisonment in a series of mass trials.On 18 January 2014, the interim government instituted a new constitution following a referendum in which 98.1% of voters were supportive. Participation was low with only 38.6% of registered voters participating although this was higher than the 33% who voted in a referendum during Morsi's tenure. On 26 March 2014 Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the head of the Egyptian Armed Forces who meanwhile was in control of the country, resigned from the military, announcing he would stand as a candidate in the 2014 presidential election. The poll, held between 26 and 28 May 2014, resulted in a landslide victory for el-Sisi. The Muslim Brotherhood and some liberal and secular activist groups boycotted the vote. Even though the military-backed authorities extended voting to a third day, the 46% turnout was lower than the 52% turnout in the 2012 election. Sisi was sworn into office as President of Egypt on 8 June 2014.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_Revolution_of_2011Islamic Democracy in Egypt?In the eyes of many observers, the 2012 election of the Muslim Brotherhood appeared to be a pathway to democracy and away from decades of authoritarianism; it was also seen as a vehicle to demonstrate the compatibility of Islam and democracy. The examples of Malaysia and Turkey seemed already to make the case that Muslims were compatible with democratic norms. The case of Egypt, however, was more compelling: political Islam was going to design a polity and write a constitution. In Tunisia, the political parameters were similar, but Al-Nahda did not enjoy the same degree of electoral success that the Muslim Brotherhood had garnered, thus placing Egypt in a position to settle, once and for all, the question of the compatibility of Islam and democracy.http://www.fairobserver.com/region/middle_east_north_africa/muslim-brotherhood-islam-democracy-egypt/Accordingly, after the overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies donne the mantle of champions of democracy and constitutional legitimacy. They argued that President Morsi had democratic legitimacy and hence could not be removed from power but had to be allowed to complete his term. Anything else they deemed undemocratic. At that, they ignore three fundamental issues:1) President Morsi tried to use his position to legalize and to organize an institutional and political turn to a fundamentalistic regime in Egypt, that is, to absolute power for islamic forces in all spheres of society. That has to be evaluated as being in clear contradiction to principal demands of democracy. Since democracy means governance for all people - not only for a majority - based on respecting the human rights also of all minorities and based on the protected opportunity of voting a current government out of office. Otherwise any movement that has gained a socio-political majority to a certain point in time and takes absolute power - see the Hitler Regime in Germany (1933 - 1945) or any other totalitarian regime - could to be sorted to be democratic. See: TPI2) Not only the former military regimes in Egypt were supposed to use torture practices and arbitrary judicial sentences. So far we know, also under Morsi’s regime massive injuries of human rights towards real or alleged representatives of the military regime took place.3) One year Morsi did not yield a broadly accepted institutionalisation of democratic procedures in Egypt. In contrast - the institutional changes initiated by Morsi met increasingly widespread and strong resistence in population. Differently from Tunisia, where the islamic Al-Nahda has better learned to relativize its own claim to power and to accept overarching principles of democracy, the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt failed to get democratically trustworthy. VP/HB August 25, 2015
IPAInstitute for Political AnalysisProf. Dr. Volker von Prittwitz
EgyptCurrent Challenges and Political HistoryEgypt is fighting with fundamentalistic terrorism in a debated way. How to sort the Egyptian government? Current challenges and historic backgrounds (August 25, 2015).
Current Challenges for Egypt The current regime in Egypt should be explicitly appreciated regarding its will and capability to protect religious minorities, particularly the Copts, against violent attacks by fanatic islamists and the increasing threat by the IS. Also Egypt’s regional role as an important stabilizing factor towards the chaotic situations in Libya and other countries in the region and its relativizing role towards fundamentalistic states such as Saudi Arabia and Iran has to be emphasized. Finally the specific challenge of competing with a fundamentalistic movement that would be ready to take total power should be better understood in Europe and in other Western regions: The recent bomb attacksiro and the repeated military offenses by the IS in Sinai show that Egypt is at war with violent islamism. Nevertheless arbitrary kinds of authoritarian rule are no suitable means of reducing terrorism (in no country). Egypt has meanwhile enacted a law, which fines new papers and journalists with a minimum of $25,000 if they publish information contradicting the government's official line on terrorism. The right on life and the freedom from torture as well as the rights on free opinion and free press constitute steady challenges for any civilized government - in strict contrast to totalitarian systems. Egypt should practically show that it is - in spite of its terroristic and military challenges - willing and able to be a conscious member of the United Nations in that sense.Looking back: Tradition of Military RuleEgypt, considered a cradle of civilization that experienced some of the earliest developments of writing, agriculture, urbanisation, organised religion, and central government in history, has been standing at the cross-roads of regional and international conflicts for centuries. After having been part of the Ottoman Empire (until 1914), Egypt was first formally (from 1914 to 1919/1922) and then informally (under King Farouk) dominated by the British. On 22–26 July 1952, a group of disaffected army officers (the free officers) led by Muhammad Naguib and Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Farouk, whom the military blamed for Egypt's poor performance in the 1948 war with Israel. Following a brief experiment with civilian rule, the Free Officers abrogated the 1953 constitution and declared Egypt a republic on 18 June 1953.Subsequently an identity-building tradition of military rule developed in Egypt, impersonated by Gamal Abdel Nasser (since 1953), Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat (since 1970), and Hosni Mubarak (since 1981). In this period, indeed, the influence of the Moslem Brotherhood distinctly increased resulting in some institutional arrangements such as the institutionalization of five times prayer breaks the day. On the other side, a massive tension between military rule and Muslim Brotherhood emerged. Thus, after an assassination attempt on Nasser’s life by a Muslim Brother in 1954 had been unsucessful, President Anwar al-Sadat was killed by an islamist assassination in 1981. Vice versa, the Moslem Brotherhood has been harshly persecuted by the ruling regime through decades. On 19 March 2007 constitutional changes prohibited parties from using religion as a basis for political activity, allowed the drafting of a new anti-terrorism law, authorised broad police powers of arrest and surveillance, and gave the president power to dissolve parliament and to end judicial election monitoring. The Arab Spring in EgyptThe Arab Spring, that had started in Tunisia in December 2010, soon jumped to Egypt: On 25 January 2011, the Day of Wrath, widespread protests began against Mubarak's government. On 11 February 2011, Mubarak resigned and fled Cairo. Jubilant celebrations broke out in Cairo's Tahrir Square at the news. The Egyptian military then assumed the power to govern warranting free and democratic elections as well as the repeal of the 30 years long valid emergency law. On 13 February 2011, the military dissolved the parliament and suspended the constitutionA constitutional referendum was held on 19 March 2011. On 28 November 2011, Egypt held its first parliamentary election since the previous regime had been in power. This events came about not only pushed by liberal parts of the population in Cairo and other cities; also political parties with a predominantly Islamic ideology took to the streets demanding justice and fair elections. Particularly the Muslim Brotherhood became an important force pressing for the formation of a civilian government being the dominant force in little towns and rural areas. Following, Mohammed Morsi, member of the Muslim Brotherhood, was elected president by a tight majority of population on 24 June 2012. On 2 August 2012, Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Qandil announced his 35-member cabinet comprising 28 newcomers including four from the Muslim Brotherhood.On 22 November 2012, Mohamed Morsi issued a declaration immunizing his decrees from challenge and seeking to protect the work of the Constituent Assembly drafting the new constitution. The declaration also requires a retrial of those accused in the Mubarak-era killings of protesters, who had been acquitted, and extends the mandate of the constituent assembly by two months. Additionally, the declaration authorizes Morsi to take any measures necessary to protect the revolution. On 29 November, the constitutive assembly launched the draft to a new constitution that invoked the tenets of sharia.