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Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood removed from power in Egypt
Egypt has once again been in uproar as Tahrir square became the epicentre for a new wave of protests a year on from the last regime change. After days of speculation and promises from military leaders, there has been a momentous night of change in Egypt. The generals and military leaders have been true to their word and acted comprehensively in ousting both the president and loosening the grip of the Muslim Brotherhood on state institutions and organizations.
Mohammed Morsi (the Egyptian President) and Mohammed Badie (the supreme leader of the Muslim Brotherhood) have both been reported to have been arrested and imprisoned in Cairo along with numerous senior party officials. The military has also suspended the new constitution which was implemented by the brotherhood only a year ago. Adli Mansour (the head of the constitutional court) has been sworn in as an interim president and his role is to stabilize and facilitate the implementation of new elections in what is intended to be a purely technocratic regime.
The protestors in Cairo and leaders of the fight to remove Morsi have largely seen this process as one which should correct the path of the golden revolution, which started a year ago and disposed the previous president Hosni Mubarak. There has been wide spread dissatisfaction with the new government and the opposition accuses the Morsi regime of being non democratic, autocratic and incompetent.
The Muslim brotherhood has been a focus for a lot of this discontent: the group has tightened and restricted elements of the media, and there have been increased episodes of sectarian violence and promotion of extremist members of the group to government positions. The poor state of the economy has also been a major source of discontent, with worsening power cuts and lack of foreign investment coming into the country.
The 22nd of November incident was one of the most polarising as Morsi moved to alter the constitution to his benefit and allow president decrees to be free from judicial review. This movement convinced the opposition that democratic processes were not being implemented to the extent which they demanded a year ago and they have become disenchanted with Political Islam.
However this is far from a decided or settled issue: there is a still a substantial camp of Morsi supporters, and the Muslim Brotherhood, before its removal from office, was the largest organized political movement in the country. The brotherhood has announced a rejection of the military coup and, after Friday prayers on the 5th of July, a large scale counter protest is expected. The effort to remove Morsi has been far from bloodless so far and it could continue to destabilize the country, as the interim government attempts to control the situation amongst potential clashes between Morsi and opposition supporters on the streets.
However, there are other concerning issues for the country. The military is currently the state institution which has shown it has both the will and the power to remove governments. Should the period of instability and uncertainty continue, it may choose to remain in control indefinitely, ruining any chance of implementing longer term political reform. The suspension of any constitution is also a concerning sign for the people, as only this can provide some basis of protection and limits for the interim regime. The US has already expressed its concern that the military decided to remove the Morsi regime and has stated that the military should return power back to an elected civilian government as soon as possible. It has warned that the military aid it has been providing could be cut as the US has already invested £1.3bn in the Egyptian military since the golden revolution. The revolution could be seen as a blow to US aims in the region as the aid had been designed to legitimize and secure the Morsi regime, as the US promoted its democratic values. The US does not want to be seen to be condoning military revolution.
The situation in Egypt is very much still uncertain and whilst the opposition remains positive there is the danger of continued conflict between the two camps.
Find this interesting? You may also like our country analysis report on Egypt.