POST – ‘ARAB SPRING’: BENEFICIAL LESSONS IN GOVERNANCE FROM RECENT EVENTS IN EGYPT AND TUNISIA
The fall of elected Egyptian President Morsi is likely to reverberate into the future throughout the Arab World. It pits the growing large communi- ty of Islamic-committed citizens (just under 60 percent in Egypt according to Pew Center surveys) and frustrated youth wanting participatory govern- ance and legitimate freedoms against military autocrats, their business and judicial associates, and hereditary rulers in the region who wish to maintain the status quo against the bedrock Islamic principle of representative govern- ance. Tunisia leads the way in providing a to-date successful transition post- ‘Arab Spring’ to an alternative vision favouring the welfare of its citizens. This is a consequence of the flexibility and willingness of Islamists there to work together in coalition with other groups even secularists. Egypt displays the beginning of an epic struggle that will unlikely end until some form of partici- patory governance is achieved through civil disobedience. President Moham- mad Morsi managed the passage of a new constitution (presently suspended) under strong opposition but was unable to project a ‘democratic’ image or resolve the country’s economic problems. He also failed to embrace inclusive- ness even to work closely with other Islamic forces – the Salafists and the AlAzhar institution. Chief of the armed forces, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi however, in rebelling against his civilian commander, is attempting to restore the pre-Arab Spring status of covert military rule. He successfully drew initial support from the Salafists and liberals but can no longer assume their backing. Shaykh AlAzhar in openly supporting al-Sisi has compromised the erstwhile high regard held for Al-Azhar in the Muslim world.
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