The turnout of elections for President of Egypt was just over 40%. Of that Morsi managed just over 50%. In other words barely 20% of the possible Egyptian electorate chose Morsi as their man for the presidency. To put in perspective that was 13 million people. The opposition group Tamarod (“rebel”) claim to have a petition of 22 million signatures for Morsi to go.
In the face of these facts the call by some commentators and politicians to respect the ballot box and let Morsi continue to rule were ludicrous.
The problem is there was no constitutional way to remove Morsi. No way to impeach him, or have a vote of no confidence in him.
No wonder Morsi went on about having constitutional legitimacy just before the military supported the millions of people demonstrating for him to step down. Popular legitimacy never existed, and Morsi was ditching electoral partners shortly after obtaining office, then alienating others to help create a democracy. His short tenure was marked by conflict, lack of consensus building, and with his decree an attempt to subvert democratic norms like accountability, rule of law, let alone checks and balances.
There is another idea that is floated. Because 70% of the population are Muslims, they support the Muslim Brotherhood, or would want an Islamic party. Remember only 20% of the electorate voted for Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate. The constituent assembly was stacked in such a way the opposition boycotted, with Amnesty International saying the assembly was not truly representative of the Egyptian people, and limited universal freedoms let alone rights for women.
To those who ignore even mentioning these things, they will still point out this is a military coup. Well yes it is, I had not noticed the tanks rolling down the streets. Which other legal method was there to hold Morsi to account for his actions? The other questions – what would have happened to the tens of millions of people on the streets if the army had not intervened? How would such a mass of people reacted to an entrenched President? No one else but the army could guarantee their safety.
The lesser of two evils has happened and the future is far from certain as the president and brotherhood are detained. The people have won only a second chance not to be let down again. Whether this road map will lead to a proper functioning democratic state remains very much a betting game. Jubilation at the removal of Morsi is not yet freedom, or an accountable let alone democratic government.
Just do not insult those millions of Egyptians as not understanding democracy. They understand it only too well. June 30th is another shot at getting Jan 25th right.
Previous posts on Egypt:
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog