July 11, 2013 at 7:00 AM
New government has big responsibility
Thank you for your coverage of Egypt, and the column by David Brooks last Sunday. [“Defending the Egyptian coup,” Opinion, July 7.]
When starting a new country on the road to democracy, we need to remember the following: First, it is a long road. Second, free and fair elections, while essential, do not themselves create democracy. Third, all mature, democratic societies owe their achievement of democracy to a body of democratic laws developed over many years. Finally, a country starting on this road needs a starter package of law — we call it a Constitution — which will guide and circumscribe the actions of future governments to ensure that democratic principles are maintained.
It was ousted President Mohammed Morsi’s violation of the latter that led to his downfall. He stacked the constitutional committee so as to impose laws that he knew would not be acceptable to a large proportion of the country.
The new president now has the task of setting up a more representative committee, including Muslim representatives, that can come up with a solution that people can be persuaded to accept.
This is not going to be easy, and will require a period of relatively competent government for people to calm down. They are going to need all the help they can get.
Richard Tait, Mercer Island
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