The next steps for democracy in Egypt
Egypt must work towards a quick return to an elected, democratic government to ensure long-term economic and social stability
A prolonged military rule could spell the end to Egypt’s dreams of democracy and further polarise the country’s population. With a state of emergency in place and security forces continuing to crack down on the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s experiment with democracy is over, at least for the time being.
The army’s strategy of violently suppressing the Brotherhood and labelling them as terrorists will only further deepen divisions in Egypt in the long run and make the transition to democracy more difficult. This is despite the army’s justifications that it is acting out of the greater good of the population.
At least 900 people have been killed since the clearing of the pro-Mursi camps, including Brotherhood supporters and members of the security forces. Certain sections of the Brotherhood are far from blameless, with militant Islamist groups accused of killing 25 soldiers in the Sinai region and burning down churches.
However, the Brotherhood is likely to become increasing embittered that having had a central role in Egypt’s political system, it has now been violently cast out once more. There is a risk that the more radicalised elements of the organisation could seek more violent means of getting their message across.
This does not bode well for the future security of Egypt.
Yet, in the short term, many sections of Egyptian society, including many in the business sector, are seemingly content or at least resigned to the fact that military action is needed to return the country to economic stability. The interim government has said it will hold talks to bring an end to the state of emergency and develop a plan for holding new elections.
These tentative moves towards democracy would be positive for the country.
A protracted period of military rule by unelected generals that see the use of force as a necessity, would be a dangerous scenario for Egypt and the wider North African and Middle East region.