Restore Democracy in Egypt by Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam (JULY 11, 2013)

Military rule is the least desirable government anywhere in the world. There is no reason why it should be different in Egypt. With the death of at least 51 Morsi supporters on July 8 in firing by security forces military rule has become even more ugly.

President Morsi, deposed and detained by the army, had his own share of faults. He seemed to think that just because his party had got 51 per cent votes, those who had got 49 per cent did not matter and did not have to be consulted.

The fact remains that if he had got only one per cent less he would be on par with the opposition. The other point that he should have kept in mind was that a sizeable part of the vote he got was angry vote, that is, a good number of people voted for him not because they liked his ideas, but because they hated Hosni Mubarak’s decades-long undemocratic rule in which corruption and nepotism flourished.

Mr Morsi, on his part, spent most of his time in presidency not making life easy for the Egyptians, but building his own party for coming elections. A neglected economy became so weak that there was very little food to eat and fuel for crucial economic activity. Lines at petrol pumps became longer and longer.

Not just foreign investment dried up. Money fled the country as people feared he might start nationalising banks. Account holders transferred their money abroad, which aggravated the situation. He acted in haste trying to do the same thing in a year that the Turks took 20 years doing.

There are very few democratic institutions in Egypt. Mr. Morsi should have spent time on strengthening them.

The opposition also did not play its role well. Democracy had come a little too late in this country. The opposition should have allowed it to take root.

The security forces should remember that every atrocity that they commit against Morsi supporters will ultimately polarise the voters in favour of the Brotherhood.

This is an hour of trial for the country, and every section must play its role responsibly. The army has even a greater responsibility to stabilise the country and bring democracy back on the rails. Now the armed forces should have the restoration of democracy as their first priority, either by restoring the Morsi presidency or by ordering fresh election. The situation is critical. It needs careful handling as it can slip into a civil war.


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