Egypt's democracy benchmark in the 21th century: re-launching direct democracy.

Author:Radwan, Abeer Bassiouny

This article represents the academic view of the author. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the government she represents.

The miracle of direct democracy achieved by the Egyptian people on 30th June 30, 2013 in the greatest revolution of their history, has been confirmed by other mass gatherings on the July 3 and 26, 2013. However some governments and political scholars still denying this fact, calling it "a military coup". Countering this argument can be accomplished by defining the term 'democracy', and clarifying some of the apparent paradoxes of constitution and legitimacy. According to a father of the French revolution, Jean Jacques Rousseau, the goal of any democracy is to fulfill the will of the people is. In this sense, therefore, Egypt is reviving "City State" Democracy.

Egypt demonstrates that Direct Democracy is possible more reliable

Egypt is evolving every day towards a genuinely free and democratic country. A broad popular and democratic movement has been mobilized and demonstrating in all constituencies formed from all sectors. The social and political currents of June 30 have been confirmed by gatherings on July 3rd and 26th 2013 to herald the relaunching of Direct Democracy in human history.

Democracy, H.L. Mencken said, is 'the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard'. This is exactly what the Egyptian people did when they decided to remove President Morsi, whom they had chosen by ballot last year (June 2012), but who had failed tremendously to fulfill or respond to their aspirations and demands. Egyptians have taken their will to the streets and declared "Enough of Morsi", using their direct voice in mass demonstrations. Bypassing classical political thinking, Egyptians, didn't wait for another 3 years to vote, but reacted just as the ancient Greeks in their first democratic "City State".

There is no Democracy on the cheap

All active participants, inside and outside Egypt, had been watching the dangerous developments unfolding on in Egypt, but most hesitated to act inasmuch as the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi came to power in a "democratic way". Those actors had forgotten that democracy is more than ballots. Democratic Government by ballot amounts to "democracy on the cheap". It can succeed within a well-consolidated democracy during a normal period but not in a new democracy faced with a tyrannical attitude from those in power. In addition the Egyptian economy suffered greatly from the mismanagement of the administration of the state (appointing candidates who were unfit or of insufficient caliber on the basis of political affiliations in a patron-client relationship) and using the Egyptian State as a rent-seeking opportunity for those in power.

The firm grip on power of most State institutions left the Egyptian Army as the only means to exercise Egyptians' desire to remove Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from power. The enormous support for this action was shown by possibly the largest manifestation of popular support in history (according to estimates, the events of the June 30th and July 3rd and 26th, saw 33 to 40 million demonstrators united in one political objective).

Not a Military coup; maybe a democratic or popular coup

First of all, it is important to remember that the call for removing Morsi was started by a civil movement called the "Tamarod" rebellion which started to collect signatures early this year from supporters in favor of ending Morsi's rule. Aiming to collect 15 million supporters in 3 months, the Tamarod movement more than succeeded in achieving its target, collecting more than 22 million signatures before the anniversary of Morsi's inauguration. The Egyptian people responded to the Tamarod movements appeal for mass demonstrations to demand that President Morsi abdicate power and to call for an early presidential election. They gathered in the streets to support Tamarod's demands.

The wide diversity of those demonstrators from all political and social backgrounds should eliminate any illusion that a military coupe d'etat happened in Egypt. It could well be termed a "popular coup" or, as other describe it, a "democratic coup". In Egypt the army is the melting pot of Egyptian nationalism. It represents the people, and it is their hand. The Army showed it has no political aspirations from the moment it removed Morsi, by not taking power; I immediately instantly undertook procedures to transfer power to a civilian government, by means of a broader consultation process that Egypt had not seen within the last two years under a so-called "democratic government".

The situation in Egypt, before June 30 was unique, not only because of the transitional period that Egypt is passing through but also because the total monopoly that President Morsi was trying to achieve for the Muslim brothers in Egypt. Therefore, there was fierce fighting over power in Egypt but no complete institutions. There was only an executive branch with no legislative power to balance or check...

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