The Arab Spring was not easy on Egypt. Egyptians left the structure of an autocrat for the freedom of freedom. On November 28, 2011, Egypt held its parliamentary election. On June 24, 2012, Egypt elected Mohammed Morsi president (article: The Quality of Mursi). At the time, Morsi seemed to be a compromise candidate between the Islamicist Muslim Brotherhood and the secular and liberal factions in Egypt.
What spurred the protests?
Because of the January 2012 elections, the Constituent Assembly, Egypt’s temporary parliament charged with writing the next constitution, had an Islamicist majority. The fear that the constitution would impose Sharia Law caused most of the opposition to leave the assembly (article: A Messy Business). To bolster his position, Mursi issued a fiat declaring his decrees were beyond challenge. This action spurred anti-Mursi protests throughout the urban centers in Egypt.
Those protests caused pro-Mursi protests to break out.
Since the November 2012 fiat, Egypt has experienced almost continuous political protests, both for and against President Mursi.
To end the protests and increase the popular support for the Constituent Assembly, Morsi announced new elections. These will be the first elections held under the constitution passed in December 2012.
Because of the lack of election oversight personnel, it will be held in four stages:
Thursday’s decree states voting will take place in:
Cairo and four other provinces on 27-28 April, with a run-off scheduled for 4-5 May
Giza, Alexandria and six other provinces on 15-16 May, with a run-off scheduled for 22-23 May
Eight provinces on 2-3 June, with a run-off scheduled for 9-10 June
Six provinces on 19-20 June, with a run-off on 26-27 June
Will this ease the division in Egypt? Perhaps. However, it needs to be mentioned that the secularists and liberals form a minority in the current Constituent Assembly. Mursi’s only action that may increase their power is the Mubarak-esque fiat of November 22, 2012. Beyond that, there should be little hope for the balance of power in the People’s Assembly to tilt in favor of the liberals and secularists.
Mursi is smart here in that he is giving the people another chance to show their support for Mursi and the agenda of the Muslim Brotherhood. The only question is whether or not the results will be accepted by all. In a new democracy, born from a thriving autocracy, the answer is usually no.