Why ElBaradei should step aside | Letters

While Mohamed ElBaradei’s nomination as prime minister of Egypt is currently uncertain, he has often been referred to as the “logical choice”. Back in January 2012, ElBaradei, reflecting on his decision not to run for presidential elections, stated: “My conscience will not allow me to nominate myself to the presidency or any formal position without the presence of a real democratic framework that uses the essence of democracy, not just its image.” At the time, however, it was widely acknowledged that an increasing lack of popular support was the real reason behind this sophism. A few months later, ElBaradei boycotted the first parliamentary elections, declaring: “I will not be part of an act of deception.” Other opportunities to engage in dialogue during Mohamed Morsi’s tenure as president were shunned by ElBaradei.

While undoubtedly a skilled diplomat and a respected politician, his failure to place democratic interests before individual ambitions, his intransigence vis-à-vis nascent, democratic processes, and current outright Islamist opposition to his candidacy (compounded by his support for a nationwide crackdown on senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders) – at a time when efforts must be focused on bringing Islamists back into the political spectrum – would render ElBaradei the most illogical choice. In the interest of national reconciliation at this critical juncture in Egypt’s history, ElBaradei would be wise to step aside.
Sander van Niekerk
The Hague, the Netherlands

• Democratic majority rule becomes profoundly undemocratic when priests and their puppet political leaders are able to control the way their religious adherents vote. Northern Ireland’s democracy had to be suspended and replaced by direct rule from London enforced by the army on the streets. Unionists had previously governed for decades in the interests of the Protestant religious community. Democracy could only be restored by changing the constitution to replace majority rule by power-sharing. The same principles apply in Egypt. A new secular constitution is needed that forbids the imposition of religiously motivated laws, followed by free elections in which the Muslim Brotherhood, like all other parties, should be allowed to participate so long as they respect the constitution.
Roger Titcombe
Ulverston, Cumbria

• Jonathan Freedland (The failure of this experiment poses a danger beyond Egypt, 6 July) appears to believe that support for the Egyptian “non-coup” implies an anti-Muslim bias. This ignores the fact that there are other “democratic” countries beside Egypt and Turkey where religious coups have occurred and continue: Ireland and Malta in the EU, and other predominantly Roman Catholic countries. It isn’t Islam and democracy which are incompatible – it’s religion and democracy. If God is in charge of government, clearly the opposition is blasphemous.
David Lewin

Simon Jenkins (Comment, 4 July) refers to those demonstrating in Egypt in recent days as a “mob” in a turn of phrase first popularised by Edmund Burke. I prefer the term used by the greatest historian of revolts, George Rudé, namely, the “crowd”. The crowd has achieved much in history, and the last few days in Cairo and elsewhere suggest that it is still doing so.
Dr Keith Flett
London Socialist Historians Group

• There is a lesson for us to take from Egypt about the nature of consent. Morsi could have made it work by avoiding partisan policies. Many of us lived through and admired the postwar consensus period of British politics, and were rudely shocked by Thatcher’s arrogation of the right to drive through radical policies on less than a majority of the national vote. But other civil society checks and balances stopped her from going too far in the end. Now, as our society becomes more atomised, these checks and balances are losing their force. We need a debate about this before the old jibe of “elective dictatorship” becomes a reality, and prime ministers start to think that if they win an election they can push through any madcap idea that comes into their minds.
Mark O’Sullivan

guardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds