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Solving Egyptian puzzle

(China Daily)

16:57, July 05, 2013

BEIJING, July 5 (Xinhuanet) -- The drastic changes in Egypt's political scene have not only fueled widespread concerns for the fate of Mohamed Morsi, the country's first president elected through a national poll, they have also ignited deep worries that the most populous Arab country may plunge deeper into political crisis and social unrest.

On Wednesday, the Egyptian military ousted Morsi, suspen- ded the constitution and called for new elections. Adli Mansour, head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, was sworn in as interim leader on Thursday.

Defense Minister and head of Egypt's armed forces General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said Morsi had "failed to meet the demands of the people".

The Morsi administration had faced rising criticism from the opposition in the past year, and unprecedented protests demanding Morsi step down have swept the nation since Sunday.

Morsi had promised to tackle the country's woes - a security vacuum, fuel shortages, soaring prices and a crumbling economy - within his first 100 days in office. But those promises turned out to be more difficult to honor than Morsi had anticipated. He and his group, the Muslim Brotherhood, have failed to usher in reconciliation and unite all political forces to realize social stability and economic recovery.

Morsi's ousting constitutes a severe setback to the Arab country's political transition. Having paid a dear price to put an end to the Hosni Mubarak regime in 2011 and undergone year-long unrest, Egyptians now face a new dilemma in repairing the country's broken political fabric.

The divides and even hatred between different forces and factions will still exist after Morsi's ousting, which will make national reconciliation difficult in the short term. But for the long-term well-being of Egypt and its people, such reconciliation is indispensable.

The Egyptian military has put forward a roadmap for post-Morsi political arrangements, which ran into immediate opposition from the Muslim Brotherhood. It is good to hear that Mansour used his inauguration to hold out an olive branch to the Brotherhood.

It will obviously take time for Egypt to build a national consensus on the country's political future, and the process will be complex considering the sectarian feuds that exist.

However, we hope the process will be peaceful and orderly, and the disruption to civilian well-being kept to a minimum.

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