“Egypt’s powerful armed forces issued a virtual ultimatum to Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on Monday, calling on the nation’s feuding politicians to agree on an inclusive roadmap for the country’s future within 48 hours.
A dramatic military statement broadcast on state television declared the nation was in danger after millions of Egyptians took to the streets on Sunday to demand that Mursi quit and the headquarters of the ruling Muslim Brotherhood were ransacked.”
Less than two and a half years after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was overthrown after thirty years in power, it looks like history may repeat itself. However this time the current office holder, Muhammad Morsi, has been in office for less than a year.
Reports are indicating that the current protests rival the size of the ones that led to the Egyptian Army to overthrow Mubarak in February 2011. This time, the protests are being led by an alliance of opposition groups under the name Tamarod, which is Arabic for “rebel.” They claim to have collected over 22 million signatures calling for President Morsi to resign and for the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Manar el-Beheiry, to appointed as an interim replacement.
It is interesting to see how things have changed for the Muslim Brotherhood after they achieved power after being banned and persecuted for decades. They have had one year to prove themselves, and during that time they have failed to alleviate the political dysfunction and economic stagnation that has ravaged Egypt for years.
Now with the Army issuing its ultimatum, the world can only watch and wait to see how this turns out. It could be that the Army might act as a vehicle for a (relatively) liberal, secular government to take power and bring some real reforms to Egypt. This would be similar to what happened with Turkey during the 20th century, with the military acting as a check to the power of the elected government.
But as the protests in Turkey have shown, this is not sustainable in the long term. Is the Army just going to keep overthrowing the government until the people get it right? That’s no way to run a country.