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Tarek Masoud on Politics in Egypt

Protestors wave Egyptian flags in Tahrir Square.
Creative Commons/Maggie Osama

Tarek Masoud on Politics in Egypt


July 11, 2013

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Middle East Initiative


Last week, Tarek Masoud, Associate Professor of Public Policy, shared his insights with the Harvard Kennedy School Office of Communications on democracy, the military, and the role of the international community in Eygpt as the country's political situation rapidly evolves. Read an excerpt of the conversation below, and click here for access to the full Q&A. You can also follow Professor Masoud on Twitter: @masoudtarek

"Q: What does this political crisis portend about the current state of democracy in Egypt?

It's hard not to conclude that democracy is now on hold in Egypt. No timeline has been set for electing Morsi's permanent replacement, and given the violence taking place now, it is difficult to see elections being held any time soon. There is talk of rewriting the constitution, but it's not clear what this will involve or how long it will take. Whatever happens now, there will be a large segment of Egyptian society that views it as fundamentally illegitimate. How the new government will generate public consensus around the new process is anyone's guess, but it has to be job number one. There are lots of Egyptians -- and not all of them Islamists -- who are uneasy both with the way Morsi was removed, and the alacrity with which the state apparatus has tried to get on with business as usual, appointing an interim president, prime minister, and government as if one of the most dramatic and traumatic events in recent Egyptian political history did not just take place.

Q: Could Morsi have remained in power had he done more to protect minority rights?

Masoud: All Egyptian governments have failed to protect minority rights. What got Morsi thrown out of office was his belief that he did not need to build coalitions to govern, that the inability of liberal and secular elements to win at the ballot box meant they were inconsequential. And he vastly underestimated, and needlessly antagonized, elements of the state bureaucracy, which ultimately turned against him. He was repeatedly advised to seek accommodation with his rivals, but instead he chose confrontation, publicly ridiculing his opponents and then wondering why they didn't take him seriously when he called for dialogue."

Click here to read the rest of the Q&A.


For more information about this publication please contact the Middle East Initiative at (617) 495-4087.

For Academic Citation:

. "Tarek Masoud on Politics in Egypt." News, Harvard University, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, July 11, 2013.

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