UPDATED: It’s official. Mohamed Morsi is now the former president of Egypt.
Egypt’s top military commander, Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, announced that Morsi is out, and the chief justice of the constitutional court is in as interim president. New elections will be held, the commander promised, but he didn’t say when.
Democracy lovers need not shed many tears over the apparent coup. Morsi was no defender of democratic rights.
Indeed, the current crisis in Egypt arose because he consistently ignored the will of the people while ramming through his Islamist agenda. While Morsi tried desperately to preserve his own power within the current system, he failed to safeguard the rights of ALL Egyptians. Morsi’s attempt to equate his “legitimacy” with “democracy” was a very tough sell for most Egyptians.
Over the last three days, anti-Morsi protestors have flooded Egyptian streets. The news feeds were reminiscent of the anti-Mubarak protests in 2011. Democratic change that many hoped for in early 2011 still has not swept through Egypt. Not only have the huge crowds of protestors rejected Morsi’s claim to democratic legitimacy, but many foreign Arabs have recognized that Morsi “failed spectacularly” to build accountable institutions that merit continued popular support.
The Egyptian protests show how badly Morsi underestimated the Egyptian appetite for real democratic change.