Kinsman: Do Morsi’s recent moves suggest his agenda is to take Egypt toward a democratic future, or back to an authoritarian past?

By: /
August 24, 2012
Jeremy Kinsman
Former ambassador to the European Union and high commissioner to Britain

If Morsi weren’t from the Muslim Brotherhood, would the question be asked? Whoever won Egypt’s first-ever fair presidential election would have to challenge the military which has run Egypt since 1952 and tried to keep their monopoly of power via changes they wrote into the Constitution with the approval of the military-friendly and politicized Constitutional Court just before Morsi took office. The botched Sinai terrorist episode gave Morsi the opportunity to sack the Mubarak clan in the SCAF and substitute younger military officers who want the military out of politics and who accept democratic civilian rule. The deal leaves the military as guarantor of Egypt’s pluralism and also keeps their economic empire intact. Such “pacting” between old and new orders is usual in successful post-military democratic transitions (Spain, Chile, Brazil, Greece). Morsi’s rejection of hardline Brotherhood positions that threaten freedom of speech and inclusive pluralism in general is encouraging. So far, so good. You can bet that presidential hopeful Imran Khan is watching from military-dominated and fundamentalist-driven Pakistan.