Mubarak gone, military in power

Just announced by Omar Suleiman in a brief statement (via Al Jazeera).

My first guess is this was a coup that began with the military council’s oblique “Communique One” yesterday. But who knows? Maybe we’ll know one day.

In the meantime, I leave you with some of the key ideas from the political science literature on revolutions:

    * Let fury have the hour, anger can be power…

    * Meet the new boss, same as the old boss…

7 thoughts on “Mubarak gone, military in power

  1. Interesting that the army, at least, clearly expected Mubarak to resign in the televised address yesterday and now we have the resignation being announced by the vice-president and the armed forces. It will be even more interesting to see if the new president is the speaker, as the constitution provides, Suleiman, or some other military figure.

  2. Agreed. I got the distinct impression that the constitutional succession is not being followed. But that does not preclude the possibility that the Speaker will be installed.

    But if the military and ruling party are serious about a more open transition, they pretty much have to break the constitution. Otherwise, there would simply be a one-candidate plebiscite on the candidate chosen by the “parliament” within 60 days. I don’t think that’s going to fly–for anyone, at this point.

  3. It is worth copying here the whole news item about Communique #1 from this news story (linked above) in Ahram Online. The story was issued between the convening of the military Supreme Council and Mubarak’s speech, on 10 Feb.:

    The just released Communique #1 of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, announcing that the Council will remain in an open-ended session, in order to safeguard “the people’s achievements and demands”, is being interpreted widely as indicating that the Egyptian army has effectively seized political power in the country. A senior field commander gave Ahram Online’s correspondent in Tahrir sq his own interpretation of the statement. According to the senior army officer who preferred anonimity, the Supreme Council is about to announce, in statement #2, that it has taken over authority in the country, for an interim period, the duration of which is to be determined later.

    Asked about what such a step might mean for the president, the vice-president and the prime minister, the armed forces commander said “these are people who have no power over the of the armed forces.”

  4. According to Egypt’s suspended constitution the vice-president would have needed a sitting president to take control of the government. Mubarak’s attempts to avoid resignation may have had a lot to do with Suleiman trying to hold power during the transition period. The last sentence of the armed forces statement is probably a rejection of a Suleiman transition. You’d think even Mubarak and Suleiman would have understood that chief of the secret police is not the ideal career record to manage a democratic transition.

    Now would be an interesting time to be the speaker, although the constitution (which may or may not be in force insofar as it has or ever had any meaning at all) bans the interim president from running in the election.

    It is just feasible that the parliament could nominate (or be told to nominate) a respected transition figure (El-Baradei?) as the next president and the forms of the constitution could be preserved.

  5. In Indonesia, which had the most successful transition in an Islamic country, the old constitution was retained even after the reformasi protests drove Suharto from power.

  6. What do you all think of Bruce Ackerman’s argument here that Egypt needs a parliamentary rather than presidential form of government because Mubarak’s fall has not been accompanied by the rise of a single new national leader? The same argument is summarized here.

  7. Bob, thanks for that. I have read only the shorter version thus far.

    It seems to me that Egypt needs parties before one can think about parliamentarism. Given that the former governments have suppressed party activity so thoroughly, I would be concerned that there would not be parties ready to make a parliamentary democracy work in short order.

    The existence of a “‘leaderless’ revolution,” as Ackerman calls it, makes a less compelling case for parliamentarism than the lack of parties makes against it.

    Indeed, I would imagine that you’d be much more likely to get a Muslim Bortherhood-backed PM than to get a president backed by that best-organized of the opposition (proto-)parties.

    I hope to develop this theme in a full planting in the near future, but most likely not till after winter exams are done in 2.5 weeks or so! (Teaching two classes, one on electoral systems, and another–very timely–on democratization and institutional design!)

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