Morsi’s ouster not a ‘coup’: Egypt’s social democrat party
ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Army soldiers take positions as Al-Azhar University student members of the Muslim Brotherhood and supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, shout slogans against the military and Interior Ministry during a march towards the Rabaa al-Adawiya square in Cairo October 28, 2013. REUTERS photoThe ouster of Muslim Brotherhood-backed president Mohamed Morsi cannot be labeled as a coup d’état because the Egyptian army sided with the people by forcing Morsi to step down, according to a leading Egyptian social democrat figure.
“We don’t think it’s a coup. We know very well that millions of people were in the streets from June 30, and the army sided by the people. Coup means the army goes on their own, without any invitation from anyone, taking all the power. But that didn’t happen,” Hussein Gohar, head of the foreign affairs committee of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party (EGYSDP), told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview on Nov. 12.
Gohar was in Istanbul to attend the Socialist International’s (SI) Council Meeting to represent the EGYSDP, which is a member party of Egypt’s National Salvation Front, which is a coalition of leftist and liberal groups.
He was commenting on international criticisms that some progressive parties are backing a military coup in Egypt, which resulted in Morsi’s stepping down and arrest.
“People took to the streets and the army followed and then left everything to a civilian government. Now there’s an interim president, who is a civilian, a judge. And now there’s a civilian government as well, working on the transitional period. So to call it a coup, I don’t agree on that,” he said. “Morsi was forced to leave the presidency, and that was because of the military, but a coup has a different definition. If it was a coup, we would not support it.”
Gohar acknowledged that Morsi was democratically elected, however “he didn’t act in any democratic way after his election. Immediately after his election, Morsi eliminated all other forces; he took his party to the far right with his alliance with the Salafis and with other religious groups. He was not inclusive, he never fulfilled his promises to women, youth and other democratic forces,” Gohar said, claiming that Morsi would not have been able to win the elections without the support of those forces.
Morsi’s November 2012 constitutional declaration and the attack of the Muslim Brotherhood on protestors objecting this declaration started the state of polarization in Egypt, according to Gohar.
Morsi did not listen to the millions of people who poured onto streets to protest his practices, Gohar added. “That was followed by the military intervention, siding with people who went to the streets, and that was followed by the arrest of Morsi and the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. And now we have demanded all parties to get together.”
Gohar stressed they have been condemning the excessive violence and brutality carried out by the security forces against pro-Morsi supporters, but at the same time he called on Muslim Brotherhood to stop their violence.
“Their [Muslim Brotherhood’s] actions in attacking the police, burning down churches, attacking religious institutions, killing the Shias, all these things, one after the other, definitely increased the high-state of polarization,” Gohar said.
He suggested that anyone who had been involved in violence, by action or by incitement from any side, should be brought to justice. And those who were not involved in violence should come to the negotiation table and to move forward their plans, Gohar said.
“We need a civil constitution. We need women to be represented by at least one third in any elective body. So this is our fight now. We need the judiciary to be independent from any religious institution. Hopefully we will be able to get that through,” he said.