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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Egypt: Political turmoil

Egyptian hullabaloo


Will the latest regime change pave the way for democracy in Egypt?
AMIR HOSSAIN | Issue Dated: November 30, -0001, New Delhi
Tags : Hosni Mubarak | Egypt crisis | Arab Spring | Mohamed Morsi |

Almost two years and a half have gone by since the cataclysmic Arab Spring stirred the whole world with the hope of ushering in stable and peaceful democracies in the Middle East. Unfortunately not a single country has been able to leverage that revolution to great effect. Yes, the uprising did help dislodge long-time dictators.

Among other countries in the Gulf, the revolution swept through Egypt, and helped to oust the country’s then President Hosni Mubarak. And it set the ground for bringing in its first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi, on June 30, 2012. Unfortunately again, Egypt’s honeymoon with Morsi has now come to a shambolic end. Egyptians once again took to the streets, sparking off mass protests against Morsi, which were reminiscent of the scenes that led to Mubarak’s ouster. As on the previous occasion, Egypt's powerful military stepped in on July 3, and set up an interim government, holding out the promise of a fresh presidential election early next year.

Morsi’s fall from grace comes as a grave reminder of the tricky political situation in the Arab world’s frontline state. His ascension to presidency took place at a time when the economy of Egypt was in a shambles due to the 2011 uprising and the ineffectual governance of Mubarak. Even Egypt’s biggest allure – its timeless tourist attractions – seemed to have lost their lustre. So when Morsi took over, he had his task cut out – to mend the economy and instil confidence in foreign visitors to visit the country and once again savour its tourism delights. But Morsi failed to nurse the economy and he could not overcome the challenges on hand. Omar Ashour, Professor at Exeter University, who has analyzed Morsi reign, feels that his inexperience in governance and his “wild promises” were instrumental in his dethroning. Morsi has also been blamed for further aggravating an already bad economic situation by singularly failing to fix long time festering issues: improving the growing sense of insecurity among civilians, rising food prices, long fuel lines, and shortage of power supply in summer.

The situation is in Egypt is currently chaotic. Certain powers, who have a stake not only in the Republic but in the region as a whole, seem to be making tentative steps to bring back normalcy to the country. The US has finally intervened to restore a peaceful democracy in Egypt even as the rest of the world is watching with caution. If that helps Egypt in its second shot at democracy, it might eventually pave the way for entrenching  democracy on a firm footing in the Middle-East.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017