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Egypt's conundrum: An uncertain transition

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Saturday, July 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The critical conundrum facing Egypt cannot be understated.

Barely one year after Egypt democratically elected its first president, the military, supposedly at the behest of “the people,” deposed Mohamed Morsy. It didn't quite rise to replacing the ballot with the bullet but the implied threat therein was close enough to hoist giant red flags over Egypt's future.

Indeed, Mr. Morsy had become a train wreck. His piquant flavor of politics was all Muslim Brotherhood. Despite initial promises of “inclusion,” Egypt rapidly was being turned into an Islamofascist state. Religious law trumped the fundamentals of natural law and trampled secular groups. And the Egyptian economy tanked further.

Yes, the military has installed an interim, nonmilitary leader, Judge Adly Mansour, the head of the Supreme Constitutional Court (though for all of 48 hours), pending new elections, yet to be set. Whether Mr. Mansour is a marionette for the military remains to be seen. As does the question of whether the Brotherhood will revert to the terroristic ways it renounced to gain popular support.

But the bigger question for Egypt is the future of electoral legitimacy. What's to prevent the military from simply deposing the next democratically elected president should “the people” — or it — deem the successor unworthy?

A positive sign was that the day after Morsy's Wednesday deposing, the Egyptian people, while not celebrating, appeared to go about their business as normal.

But normalcy cannot long endure governmental and electoral instability.

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