By AlJazeera Center for Studies
On Wednesday evening, 3 July, after the expiry of the deadline for the forty-eight hour ultimatum given to Egyptian president, Mohamed Mursi, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the minister of defence, announced Mursi’s overthrow. Sisi carefully ensured that, when he made the announcement, he was surrounded by the sheikh of al-Azhar, Coptic Pope, a representatives of the National Salvation Front (NSF) – including Mohamed Elbaradei, two representatives of the Tamarod movement, and the president of the Nour Salafi party, to give the impression that the announcement of the overthrow of the president and the annulment of the constitution did not represent a coup, but was merely an expression of the national will, and a response to the demands of protesters against the president. But the well-planned scene did not succeed in obscuring the fact that Sisi’s announcement lacked any legal or constitutional basis.
By Afro-Middle East Centre
After months of waiting, Egypt’s Presidential Election Committee has finally declared the dates for the country’s first post-Morsi presidential election: 26 and 27 May. The election forms part of the military’s ‘roadmap’, which will supposedly return Egypt to democracy following Morsi’s ouster on 3 July 2013. However, the long-awaited announcement that Field Marshall Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the defence minister who overthrew Morsi, was to be a candidate in the election has raised questions about the military’s motives, and confirmed that a full-scale counter-revolution is under way. This article assesses the possibility of a free and fair election, considering the atmosphere surrounding the recent constitutional referendum on 14 and 15 January, and the cult-like status Sisi has gained. It also elaborates on the role and motives of state institutions and the role of the ‘deep state’, and how these impact on the electoral process. It argues that the current atmosphere in the country – which has witnessed extreme suppression of dissent – suggests that the election result is a foregone conclusion. However, in the event that Sisi wins, his rein will be fraught with a myriad challenges, many of which are intractable and are similar to challenges Morsi had faced. Key amongst these are the state of the country’s economy and Sisi’s inability to fully suppress dissent.
By Afro-Middle East Centre
In a move reminiscent of the ouster of former president, Husni Mubarak, the Egyptian military on Tuesday issued a communiqué ordering protesters demands be met within 48 hours. That period ends this afternoon. Failure to do so, said the statement, would result in the enforcement of a ‘roadmap’ ‘under military supervision’. Despite the army’s assertion that coups are not part of its ethos, this is certainly threat of a coup. Ironically, the army’s message was well received by large parts of the crowds in Tahrir square, which a year ago were calling for the same military to relinquish power. The government under Muhammad Mursi subsequently expressed its opposition to the communiqué, saying that it risks deepening divisions between Egyptians, and, even if well intentioned, ‘may threaten the social peace’. Further, the administration reiterated its call for dialogue and reconciliation, and re-emphasised democratic legitimacy.
Dr Bashir Musa Nafi’
There is no instruction book for revolutions, nor for states transforming from authoritarianism and repression to freedom and democracy.
The situation in which Egypt finds itself today can be compared and contrasted to other Arab experiences during the revolutions, and previous European and Latin American experiences. It demonstrates the difficulty and complexities of transition and change, and relates to the circumstances of a specific nation and people. Countries are defined by numerous characteristics, especially those with deeply rooted histories. These include commitments and loyalties relating to the country’s location and identity, as well as those imposed onto the country, and demands made on its identity. History evolves and oscillates, and does not repeat itself except, as Marx says, ‘first as tragedy, then as farce’.
Days after Mohammed Morsi was removed from the position of Egypt's president several key appointments were made and a roadmap was laid out for a new constitution and parliamentary elections. In this episode we discuss the precedent the Arab Spring and the recent Egypt protests set and ask what it will take for Egypt to finally enjoy long-term stability.
Guests: Afro-Middle East Centre executive director, Naeem Jeenah and Egypt ambassador to South Africa, H.E. Sherif Naguib