Brett Daniel Shehadey
Special Contributor for In Homeland Security
Egyptian nationalist and Islamist political division has reached a boiling point. Millions of protestors have demanded the resignation, reform or removal of President Mohamed Morsi. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) demanded that Morsi resign or be removed within 48 hours. The deadline has passed.
Since 10:30AM (EST) this morning, in order to avoid bloodshed and riots, “the General Command of the Armed Forces is currently meeting with a number of religious, national, political and youth icons … There will be a statement issued from the General Command as soon as they are done,” said the army. The military is moving in to secure key political offices in a military coup.
“The armed forces’ loyalty is to the people and the nation,” said General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
“The price of preserving legitimacy is my life,” responds President Morsi, who has long claimed that the Egyptian people elected him democratically. He did win in a democratic election, but he only received a slight majority percentage; meanwhile Ahmed Shafiq, his major opponent garnished just under 50 percent. So in truth, only half the voters in Egypt supported the President. After one year of empty promises and power-grabs, even more people have now rallied against him.
Many in Egypt do not hold religious political reform as their top priority. Others reject it outright. But for a growing majority, they desire a stable growing Egypt, employment, social programs as a leading issue. Instead, Morsi spent most of the year fighting the Supreme Constitutional Court decisions and securing and transfixing Muslim Brotherhood membership and legacy into the executive.
While a majority (63 percent) did approve the new Egyptian Constitution during the referendum, the participants made up only 32 percent of eligible Egyptian voters, according to sociologist Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya. A Pew Poll taken in May revealed that 49 percent to 45 percent of the general public approved of the Constitution.
Clearly President Morsi’s presidency has split the country into 50-50 since the election, but that may be changing as conditions worsen. The same poll found that 56 percent to 43 percent surveyed said that they were dissatisfied with the way democracy is working. Only 30 percent of the people feel that the country is headed in the right direction. About 76 percent said the economic conditions were bad and 68 percent that the economy would remain the same or worsen.
It has been reported that the armed forces plan to install the Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court and an interim government, consisting of all major parties. Also it is important to remember that al-Sisi himself is an Islamist, but he is a nationalist first and does not approve of Morsi and the Brotherhood’s neglect for other political voices which are responsible for the current instability crisis in the streets.