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It seemed as though much of Egypt cheered after President Hosni Mubarak resigned Feb. 11. Protesters had been demonstrating for days and tension was high.
On the one hand, this is a victory for popular sovereignty. The people were unhappy with the 30 years of Mubarak’s rule, which they believed to be unjust, so they took action and brought about change in their government. However, each time Mubarak was elected, it was by a majority. He did not seize power and keep it for life with no elections, like Napoleon Bonaparte did. Even if the election method was not perfect, the majority of voters chose Mubarak.
According to the New York Times, Mubarak first rose to power some 30 years ago when, in 1981, former president, Anwar el-Sadat, was assassinated. On Feb. 25, 1986, the Cairo police held a mutiny. Mubarak was reelected on Oct. 5, 1987, then again in 1993.
On June 26, 1995, gunmen attempted to assassinate him, but failed. On Oct. 5, 1999, he was reelected a fourth time. In March 2005, he was elected to a fifth term, sparking widespread protests. In 2006, he announced an intention to remain president for the rest of his life. However, on Feb. 11, 2011, his tenure came to an end, as Mubarak reluctantly resigned under intense pressure from protesters.
Mubarak’s resignation can be considered a victory for the people. In many ways, it is similar to the American Revolution. The people believed that their government was not serving their needs and took action to change it. Many criticized the government policies that allowed Mubarak to be reelected five times. The election method outlined by the constitution made it difficult for anyone of a minority political party to run for office.
So, because Mubarak’s party, the National Democratic Party, held such a majority, it was almost impossible to oppose Mubarak.
The people did not view these elections as truly democratic, so they took action. Even though the change was nowhere near as dramatic or prolonged as the American Revolution, the parallels cannot be ignored. This bodes well for Egypt’s future.
On the other hand, the protesters seem a bit unreasonable. Even if the Egyptian constitution is flawed, Mubarak was democratically reelected every time. He never ran unopposed. He could have been voted out of office. Also, he was nowhere nearly as brutal as dictators-for-life like Kim Jong-Il of North Korea.
Plus, Mubarak made increasingly large concessions to the protesters without them storming his office. His resignation was only the last of these. This shows that he really did care about his people. I cannot help feeling concern for the future of Egypt.
The Egyptian military has taken control. They suspended the constitution and dissolved the Egyptian Parliament. The protesters never proposed a replacement during their protests. This lack of clarity of vision will indubitably hamper their progress.
Whether for better or worse, the success of the protesters has changed the course of history, not just for Egypt; but for the Middle East and, perhaps the world.