Egypt: A Clash of Legitimisations

1 reply
Joined: 14 March 2011

After the eruption of the Egyptian Revolution in January 2011, the Army declared its full support for the legitimate demands of the protestors, but they stopped short of saying that these protestors represented any legitimacy to rule. Once Mubarak was forced to step down as President, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) announced the transmission of power to the legitimate authorities after the elections. However, the SCAF soon realized that they did not have the legitimacy to rule the country. Consequently, in March 2011 they issued the Constitutional Declaration in March 2011, soon after the referendum on the amendments on the 1971 Constitution.

Political parties with religious background were given the opportunity to run for parliamentary elections from November 2011 despite the clear provision in the Constitutional Declaration in Article (4) which stipulates that ‘Citizens may form societies, unions, syndicates and parties in accordance with the law. Societies of a hostile, clandestine or military nature are prohibited as are political activities and political parties based on religion and/or discrimination on account of gender or ethnicity’. Fundamentalists and the Muslim Brotherhood have taken more than 60% of the Egyptian parliament seats in what journalist Ibrahim Essa has called “free but not fair elections.” Such dramatic change in the lineup of new the parliament have encouraged its members to claim legitimacy as the only elected entity now in Egypt. At some point, they may demand the right to form a new cabinet.  
A third section of Egyptian society claiming legitimacy are the new groups and allies which were formed during and after the revolution of 25 January 2011. They still believe that they are the holders of the great legitimacy. In their eyes, any legitimacy possessed by the SCAF and Parliament was created by the popular protest that forced Mubarak out of office.
These three competing legitimacies have different directions and represent different types of citizens who can never come to a mutual agreement in the near future.
There are the military: who still believe that they have created their own legitimacy by protecting the revolution.
Islamists have suffered from detention, torture and persecution for decades and now believe that the overthrow of Mubarak has given them the opportunity to create an Islamic society.
Finally, there are the ‘Tahrir Youth’ who had shown a unified attitude during the eighteen day sit in Tahrir Square. They now believe it was a mistake to leave the Square before all their demands were implemented.
Until presidential elections are held (allegedly before end of June 2012), and in spite of diplomatic assurances from these three conflicting groups, the situation in Egypt remains uncertain.
Joined: 18 April 2012

II think that there is a covered dynamics and invisible hands that manipulate the current and even future political arena. I can say that US put the new rules of the game. This Game I call it “Inelegance Democracy “
It is crystal clear that there was a deal between the military and the Moslem brothers to share the power. This deal was approved by US. Meanwhile, as none of the three parties has confidence of the other ones, every party took some measure to guarantee that he has some cards to play in the due time. Still there are always uncovered negotiations to reach agreement for the precedence. Therefore, it does not matter who will be elected what matters who will be approved by these three poles.

Oecumene: Citizenship after Orientalism is funded by an European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant (Institutions, values, beliefs and behaviour ERC-AG-SH2).

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