|The coalition government is Morsi’s Achilles heel||
After months of political wrangling, Mohammed Morsi won the presidential election in Egypt and became the first democratically elected president after the fall of Hosni Mubarak. However, the new president will face huge political and social challenges.
The president is regarded as having the most influential role in Egypt, but it is the military which still has the final say in the decision making process. Over the past 16 months, the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) has mobilized anti-Islamists and secularists to increase its influence in the new system. Moreover, the army has done this while casting itself as a neutral balancing force between the political groups.
SCAF’s moves have resulted in a more centralized decision-making system, which has enabled it and its sub-organs – including the judiciary – to dissolve parliament and undermine the Islamists’ hope for the establishment of a truly democratic system.
Morsi also faces challenges from the proposed coalition government. Historical experience demonstrates the failure of many coalition systems that follow revolutions. The reason is that it is nigh on impossible to satisfy the competing demands of the constituent groups. The fact that Morsi will be the leader of a coalition will be his Achilles heel.
For example, within the coalition, Salafis will demand for the complete implementation of Sharia law, which is viewed by many as a threat to the new democratic system. On the other hand, secular groups, some of whom supported Morsi as a protest vote against Ahmed Shafiq, will demand a liberal rights-based democracy, a stance quite apart from the Salafis.
Despite the benefits that arise from an inclusive coalition government, it could also create huge embarrassments for Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, especially if they cannot properly manage the interests and expectations of the groups.
Morsi’s uncharismatic personality is another major challenge. Many observers believe that he only won the election due to his association with Muslim Brotherhood, the major political power in the country with an Islamic orientation. Others say that Morsi’s plain character will allow him to successfully mediate between the groups in his coalition. Only time will tell if the Islamists will be able to prove their political leadership in Egypt.
Seyyed Abdolamir Nabavi is an expert on Arab and Middle Eastern politics based in Tehran.
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