Representative democracy (in my interpretation) functions in the way that elections are held, where people vote for the party or politician they best entrust to rule the country they live in (disregarding exceptions where people vote as a counterbalance or are nationals living abroad), taking into consideration the party’s/person’s competences in forming policies that would make at least them better off economically/personally/religiously. Is this what happened in Egypt? Morsi was elected by the majority of voters to decide what will happen next in Egypt. Democracy is based on the same fate, of the ‘tyranny’ of the mass/the majority. What happens in democracies when the opposition does not agree with government policies? Well, in healthy democracies, like the Netherlands (yes, I consider that a healthy democracy), the opposition tends to unite, offer alternatives, ask the cabinet to justify their policies, and if the opposition is strong enough and internally within the cabinet their are doubts as well; the cabinet will be forced to reconsider their policies. Furthermore, the senate (in the case of the Netherlands), is the second chamber which approves or rejects legislative proposals. Finally, in the worst case, there is the ability to raise a confidence vote, which will decide the fate of the cabinet. Can these procedures be rendered feasible in the very frail Egyptian ‘democracy’?
- The Muslim Brotherhood, holding on to the constitutional declaration of late November, does not submit itself to the realities of democracy, where there should be an absolute separation of executive, legislation and judicial powers.
- The National Salvation Front are intellectuals who have a deep understanding of politics and society, but, like in every country in the world, the majority of the population are not highly educated and may not be experts on politics, or do not have an understanding of the intricacies that this revolutionary episode brings to policy, the economy and society. Beyond that, while these intellectuals, intuitively speaking, appear much more restraint to using violence, many others believe that the only way to move forward is to use violence. Chaos is opportunity to violence. There is chaos.
Genuine restraint to the use of violence is necessary to lead matters to a political environment in Egypt where disagreements can be taken care. And along with that comes the crucial feature of a solution: (1) the willingness of all the parties to make concessions, (2) then to actually make them, (3) and finally to create an environment where the elected government is able to do their job, in accordance with the “principles” of democracy. However, in reality, as an outsider, the future seems to be quite bleak.
For the sake of reference, below is the list of demands of the National Salvation Front — the NSF is a coalition of political parties that united against Morsi’s November 22 declaration where the President grants himself far-reaching powers, more on BBC.co.uk:
1. The NSF mourns the martyrs of the January 25 Revolution’s second wave in Suez, Port Said, Ismailia and all Egyptians squares. We hold the president responsible for the excessive violence used by security forces against protesters, demanding that a neutral investigative committee be formed to punish those responsible for the bloodshed. We further call upon Egyptians to continue their peaceful protests, and condemn all acts of violence.
2. We call for the formation of neutral legal committee to amend the distorted constitution and to reach a consensus on articles that needs to be changed immediately.
3. We demand the formation of a national salvation government that ensures efficiency and credibility, that will implement the demands of the revolution, particularly social justice after the policy of the president and Cabinet has led to a deterioration in the lives of Egyptians.
4. Halting the tyrannical constitutional declaration concerning its aggression on judicial independence and the sacking of the public prosecutor.
5. The Muslim Brotherhood group should be subject to the law after being a main element in the country’s administration for almost a year with no legal or legitimate foundation.