By ROSIE WATERLAND
1. So… What exactly happened last night?
The President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, was overthrown by the Egyptian military overnight. This followed a week of protests by the Egyptian people, centered around Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where thousands have been camped out. When news broke yesterday evening that President Morsi had finally been overthrown, the crowd erupted in cheers and celebration. Those are the pictures you are seeing all over the news today. However the joyous celebrations being televised mask what has been a pretty violent week in Egypt, with almost 50 people killed and 91 women reportedly raped and sexually abused in Tahrir Square.
2. Why did they chuck Morsi out?
The army says that Morsi “failed to meet the demands of the Egyptian people.”
But what does that mean exactly?
There has been tension surrounding President Morsi’s leadership since he was elected last year. Morsi represents the Muslim Brotherhood, a political organisation that represent Egypt’s large Islamic population. However, there is also a large section of the Egyptian population who are liberal secularists, and they believe that President Morsi was putting his religious agenda above much needed social reform of the country.
The clashes you’ve been watching on the news are between pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi people. And while those who remain pro-Morsi are generally from the Muslim Brotherhood, there are many Muslims who form part of the anti-Morsi camp. They just want to see the policies they voted for implemented, regardless of religion.
After all, Morsi had campaigned for the presidency on a platform of sweeping social reform that would allow for democracy and freedom of speech. Many Egyptians feel that the Muslim Brotherhood’s zealous focus on religious reform is prohibiting any chance of real democratic change.
Some Egyptians were also unhappy that Morsi had enacted legislation that meant he is no longer answerable to Egypt’s judicial system; essentially placing him above the law. Given that the Egyptian people only recently ousted a leader who pretty much did whatever he wanted for 30 years, hearing that their new President had put himself beyond the reach of the courts, understandably made the people pretty nervous.
3. Who’s in charge now?
For a while it looked like President Morsi thought he still was. He released a Youtube video that basically had a ‘KEEP CALM I’M IN CHARGE’ vibe to it. The army, who helped the people to overthrow Morsi, have decided to place the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court temporarily in charge. His name is Adly al-Mansour.
Word at the moment is that ‘consultations have started’ to find a new president. Until that time, any drafting of new laws has been frozen, so that no one can be all like “I’m in charge and I’m changing the rules so that there can’t be an election for 50 years, bitchez.” Smart move.