Egypt’s state of despair

Source: Daily Times:

By: S P Seth

Mr Morsi needs to guard against becoming identified, like the fallen dictator Hosni Mubarak, as the symbol and personification of all that continues to be wrong with Egypt

One would expect that the referendum on the draft constitution would usher in a new democratic era in Egypt, but that is not going to happen. Ever since the Egyptians brought down Hosni Mubarak, the dictator who presided over Egypt’s destiny for three decades, the country is struggling to find a new path to democracy. The referendum on the constitution is making that transition even more difficult and painful.

In fact, President Mohammed Morsi’s gamble to assume sweeping powers to rush through a newly drafted constitution through a popular referendum brought the country to near chaos, with Tahrir Square once again the centre of popular demonstrations. Though Mr Morsi later rescinded his decree under popular pressure, he refused to rescind the referendum on the constitution. Most of the opposition members of the constituent assembly had boycotted the drafting process, fearing that it was being rushed to produce a draft that negated the inclusive spirit of the Egyptian revolution to empower women, youth, minorities, and the population at large around its new secular polity. With the ruling Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party rallying its supporters for counter-demonstrations, it looked like the country was in free fall.

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