Wednesday, 3 July 2013

A day after coup, Egyptians awake to uncertainty

Egyptians awoke to an uncertain new political order on Thursday, a day after the military deposed and reportedly detained the country's first democratically elected president, put a top judge in his place and suspended the constitution.
The coup that toppled Mohamed Morsy as president on Wednesday brought hundreds of thousands of people into the streets across Egypt to both applaud and assail the generals' decision to take control of the country's politics for the second time in a little over two years.

It also left a series of significant questions unanswered. What will happen to Morsy, who insists he remains the country's legitimate leader, and his key supporters? Will the sporadic outbreaks of violence that killed at least 32 people on Wednesday spread into wider unrest? And what hopes remain for Egypt's messy attempts to build a multiparty democracy?
Morsy, a Western-educated Islamist elected a year ago, "did not achieve the goals of the people" and failed to meet the generals' demands that he share power with his opposition, Egypt's top military officer, Gen. Abdel-Fatah El-Sisi, said in a televised speech to the nation Wednesday.
Adly Mansour, head of the country's Supreme Constitutional Court, will replace Morsy as Egypt's interim president, El-Sisi said.
He was expected to be sworn in Thursday. New parliamentary elections will be held, and Mansour will have the power to issue constitutional declarations in the meantime, he said.
The military has not so far publicly commented on Morsy's whereabouts. But Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad told CNN the deposed president was under "house arrest" at the presidential Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo. He said some members of Morsy's inner circle have also been detained.
The Egyptian military has dominated the country for six decades and took direct power for a year and a half after the ouster of the former ruler Hosni Mubarak in 2011 amid widespread street protests.
As demonstrations swelled this week against Morsy, who opponents have accused of authoritarianism and forcing through a conservative agenda, the military on Monday gave him 48 hours to order reforms.
Morsy's approval ratings have plummeted since his election in June 2012 as his government has failed to keep order or revive Egypt's economy.
As the deadline neared Wednesday, he offered to form an interim coalition government to oversee parliamentary elections and revise the constitution that was enacted in January. But that failed to satisfy the generals.
Conflicting responses
The army's move against Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood, the long-repressed political movement that propelled him to office, provoked wildly conflicting reactions.
In Tahrir Square, now the epicenter of two Egyptian upheavals, Morsy's opponents erupted in jubilation and fireworks when El-Sisi made his announcement.
"This is a united people of Egypt," anti-Morsy organizer Ahmed el Hawary said. "Mohamed Morsy has actually succeeded in uniting the people, after two years that we were totally against each other ... Mohamed Morsy, with his bad management, with his risking all the lives of Egypt, brought all Egyptians back together to be facing again their future, hand in hand."

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