Former head of the IAEA, United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei may be appointed as the new Egyptian Prime Minister. The newly appointed transitional President of Egypt Adly el-Mansour reportedly summoned ElBaradei to the Presidential Palace appointing him as the new Prime Minister. In order to install Chief Justice el-Mansour as interim President, it was necessary to first be sworn in as head of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court. One might say that Adly el-Mansour had a very good day being sworn in as not only Chief Justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, but also as the interim President of the new Military installed government. The appointment of ElBaradei as the new Prime Minister could be seen to possess some intriguing qualities. The first question that will never be asked is exactly who initially suggested ElBaradei for the position of Prime Minister. The reasoning which we will hear in much of the press surrounding his appointment is that he was a key figure in the initial Arab Spring protests which brought down the Mubarak government and that he was a popular figure among the pro-democracy segment of the Egyptian population.
One thing for sure is that ElBaradei received a good deal of press coverage during the Egyptian pro-democracy demonstrations that led to Mubarak stepping down and eventually to Morsi being elected in what was touted as Egypt’s first truly free elections. But did ElBaradei receive the favorable press because he was popular within Egypt or because he was the preferred candidate of the Western nations who were familiar with him from his time serving as head of the IAEA. David Kenner, Associate Editor of Foreign Policy magazine, reported that, “In a meeting earlier this year with a visiting scholar, Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Chairman Khairat al-Shater said that U.S. officials had called on Morsi to appoint ElBaradei as prime minister… (T)he thinking, according to Shater, was that ElBaradei’s appointment could repair the rift between the government and opposition, stabilizing the country.” So, was this the second appointment in the militarily established Egyptian government making Mohamed ElBaradei Prime Minister really chosen by the Egyptian military, or by the new President and Chief Supreme Constitutional Court Adly el-Mansour, or was he appointed to mollify the high officials of the United States Department of State? This may even cast at least a small amount of doubt about who was behind the choice for interim President.
There should be little doubt that the Military took advantage of the one year anniversary protests against President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government as they were a threat to the establishment of the military. After having virtually total control of the governance over Egypt, the military likely looked upon these demonstrations as a personal invitation to act and take back their control. The real test of whether this was a military coup or actually a move towards a new democratically selected government will be whether new elections will be announced in the near future and held as announced on schedule. The announcement should not take very long in being made and should also make preparations for the licensing of political parties and other preliminary necessities. The question that also needs to be addressed is whether the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party will be allowed to present a candidate in the new elections. Should they be allowed to run it is very possible that the elections will simply put another Muslim Brotherhood selected President in office. If this is the outcome of another election, then the people will have definitively chosen their fate and the President should be allowed to serve his entire term without any military interference. Removing a Muslim Brotherhood candidate once might be determined to be a positive act, but twice is simply the imposition of military rule through a back door. Any time the military executes a coup presumably in the name of the people it really needs to be an anomaly which occurs exactly once. Time will tell whether this was an act in service of the people or an act to return control of the Presidency to military control. We all hope that it truly was an act to restore the people’s faith in their government with new elections, for now it has all the appearances of a military coup and will continue to have that stench until a new government is washed in by the cleansing power of truly free and open elections.
Beyond the Cusp