Monday, July 01, 2013

Egyptian Democracy

I'm no fan of the Muslim Brotherhood or Mohamed Morsi, but I don't think it would be good for Egypt if Morsi were to be forced out of power right now. He was elected, which means he has legitimacy and is entitled to a certain amount of time to carry out his agenda before the people get to decide whether to fire him. I don't think a year is enough time. Under the Egyptian constitution he is supposed to have a four year term. He should be allowed to complete that term, unless there is some constitutional basis for removing him early.

This really isn't about Morsi. If it were, I would not have a problem with chasing him out of office right now. It's about how Egypt can establish a stable democratic system, where the losers in an election will respect the results and work towards winning at the next election rather than trying to overturn the order through some extra-constitutional process.

That's why a democratic revolution is so difficult. Once you chase out an unpopular leader, the people are going to want to chase out every leader after that whenever he or she goes through a period of unpopularity. Instead of relying upon a new democratic process, the people will logically go with the method that worked before when they got rid of the old regime. And so the original revolution that topples the tyrant ends up toppling subsequent elected leaders too. Which means you are left with chronic instability and mob rule until eventually people get sick of all the lawlessness, declare democracy a failure, and throw their support behind a strong man.

Once again, Morsi seems like a shitty leader. But if you're going to cultivate a democratic culture, removing him on an extra-constitutional basis would not be a step forward.