Egypt suffered 60 years of dictatorship until an ‘Arab Spring’ starting in 2011 led to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Muhammad Morsi became Egyptian President defeating his rival, Ahmed Shafiq, with 51.7 percent votes. The elections brought delight and a first of many things for Egypt, he is the first democratically elected President, the first Islamist to rule the nation and the first President who is not from the military.
Although Morsi, member of the once scrutinised Muslim Brotherhood affiliated freedom and justice party, was sworn in as Egypt’s first civil President, his victory was anything but a sweeping win.
He has to review Cairo’s relations with Turkey, US, Saudi Arabia and Iran. He must convince and reasssure the paranoid Western world, terrfied of an Islamist government and the Shariah Rule that this loyal old Western ally would remain an open and tolerant society, and this new regime does not mark ‘the beginning of Islamization in Egypt’.
However the real concern was the impact of the 180 degree change in goverence on the Arab-Isreal issue but he has pledged to honour Egypt’s international treaties, which include a 1979 peace treaty with Israel. He paid an official visit to Saudi Arabia, met Hamas leader, Khaled Meeshal, and attended African Union Summit to improve his diplomatic relations with foreign countries.
Under the recent developments in Egypt, Morsi not only ordered to reconvene the Parliament, announced the release of political war detainees, many of which are from Islamist groups, and the appointment of a woman and a Christian to a vice president positions in the government but also appointed Hesham Kandil, a religious Muslim, a technocrat as his Prime Minister. His newly elected cabinet comprises figures of the Egyptian financial elite with representatives from the Egyptian military, the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (MB), former ministers of the interim government of Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri, and various technocrats.
He made no move to antagonise Egypt’s military Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and the Field Marshal kept his post. Two of the 35 ministers are women, and only one is a Coptic Christian. All this has raised skepticism about Morsi’s administration which has shown little tact in placating secular and other liberal opponents but Egypt’s current leader understands well that his country not only needs political reforms but a practical socio-economic uplifting as the future of the democracy.  Mr Morsi put it himself, “The revolution goes on, carries on until all the objectives of the revolution are achieved and together we will complete this march,”
With such drastic and unprecedented change in the leadership of Egypt, the world is watching if this Middle-Eastern power under Morsi actually succeeds in achieving the democratic freedom for which it has fought for nearly 17 months, and for which it sacrificed nearly 850 lives.
AYMEN IJAZ AND MAIDA KHALID,
Islamabad, August 7.