Thursday, July 04, 2013

The Egyptian coup

So, the Egyptian military has finally acted and overthrown Mohammed Morsi's government in a coup. No matter what you think of Morsi's policies, he was elected in free and fair elections. His overthrow is therefore illegitimate and illegal. And while millions of people called for it, that doesn't make it right or lawful, any more than it would be if our army had overthrown our elected government in response to the anti-mining protests or the foreshore and seabed hikoi.

But its happened. Assuming the army are not going to return to their barracks, restore the elected government, and submit themselves to treason charges, then the next best thing that can happen is new elections to restore a legitimate government. But the problem for the army is that while they can arrest Morsi and key members of his government, the millions of people who voted for him aren't going to go away. What are they going to do? Arrest them and ban their political parties? But that's just what Mubarak did, and it will result in a government that is illegitimate, while driving those people towards non-democratic forms of political expression. It will just be another dictatorship, just with a different dictator.

As for our government's response, we should be quite clear: this is a coup, and we should refuse diplomatic recognition and suspend political and economic ties until a legitimate, elected government is restored and the perpetrators of this crime put on trial. Just as we are doing for Fiji.