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Democracy, Peoples’ Uprising and Unconstitutional Change of Government in Egypt: The African Union Principles and Responses

Published on July 8, 2013        Author: 

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ZY12012Zeray Yihdego is Senior Lecturer in International Law at the University of Aberdeen. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the UN Expert Group on the Firearms Protocol, which supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime 2000. In addition to serving as an expert, Dr Yihdego also acts as a consultant for the Vienna based UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Democratically elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi (photo credit) was ousted by theMohamed_Morsi-05-2013 Egyptian military on July 2, 2013. The former President is under house arrest, while members of his presidential team are in custody. The Army argues that it responded to the peoples’ demands and will, while the former President and his supporters called the action as a military coup. The situation challenges the notions of democracy (as understood to mean a rule by majority), self-determination (as understood to mean peoples’ right to decide on their political, socio-economic and other fates as a unit). The coup also raises important questions about Egypt’s adherence to one of the African Union’s (AU) principles: the rejection of unconstitutional change of government. Perhaps more importantly, the situation poses real challenges for the AU in how it implements the principle prohibiting such unconstitutional changes of government. Read the rest of this entry…