Egypt has entered a new phase in its post-January 25 Revolution after the country’s army ousted president Mohammad Mursi and suspended the constitution. The army’s interference and dramatic decision to depose Mursi, on the first anniversary of his election as Egypt’s first elected president, may be problematic. Any time the army gets involved in civil life, people must start worrying. But the appointment of the Chief Justice as an Interim President may soothe those worries. Nevertheless, the army must make clear in the next few days its commitment to uphold Egypt’s democratic aspirations.
In retrospect, it must be acknowledged that Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood brought this to themselves with many of their decisions made to suit their party and ideology rather than for the benefit of the people. Perhaps the most obvious mistake Mursi made was to lead without upholding democratic values vis a vis the firing of the prosecutor general and appointing one of his closet aides instead, issuing unilateral constitutional declarations giving him absolute power and shielding the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Shura Council from dissolution. His other failures include his inability to make meaningful concessions to the opposition, his attempts to stuff the country’s state institutions with Brotherhood supporters — such as governorates, ministries and state media outlets, against all odds — and his poor handling of the country’s dire economic condition.
The coming days will be critical for Egypt and all parties and factions must ensure the success of the new road map and that it does not become a recipe for another military dictatorship. It is also important that the Islamists are not excluded from future political participation in any way. It is no secret that Egypt today is polarised and just as millions of people made their voices heard against Mursi, it is now the responsibility of each and every Egyptian (regardless of their political affiliation) to keep this critical transitional period as peaceful as possible. It is paramount that the transitional phase goes according to plan and elections are held without delay. The military should not use this opportunity to make grave interferences with the country’s civil life.