What next for Egypt? Five key questions after Morsi ousted
Fears of further violence as world leaders avoid calling army takeover a 'coup'
THE STREETS of Cairo erupted in jubilation and fireworks exploded over the city at the news that Mohamed Morsi had been deposed by the Egyptian army last night. But what now for Egypt? Here are five key questions following the removal of the country's first Islamist president.
Where is Mohamed Morsi? Egypt's deposed president has been separated from his aides and is being detained in a military facility, according to a senior member of his Muslim Brotherhood party. The army claims it is "preventively" holding Morsi for his own safety and suggests he might face formal charges over accusations made by his opponents. Arrest warrants have also been issued for 300 members of the Muslim Brotherhood. Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected leader, was apparently told at 7pm local time that he was no longer president as Egypt's military seized control. Is this a military coup? Morsi and his backers have described the takeover as a military coup that undermines democracy, but the Egyptian army has rejected the term. Backed by the main religious leaders, army commander General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi described the military's action as taking up its "patriotic duty to the Egyptian masses". US President Barack Obama said he was "deeply concerned" by the military's move but stopped short of calling it a coup. It was a significant omission as by law the US must suspend aid to any country whose elected leader is ousted in a military coup. Obama has nevertheless ordered a review into the US's $1.5 billion foreign aid to Egypt. What are other world leaders saying? Britain said it opposed military intervention but did not condemn the step or use the term 'coup'. Foreign Secretary William Hague said: "The situation is clearly dangerous and we call on all sides to show restraint and avoid violence." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed for "calm, non-violence, dialogue and restraint". He added: "In their protests many Egyptians have voiced deep frustrations and legitimate concerns. At the same time, military interference in the affairs of any state is of concern. Therefore, it will be crucial to quickly reinforce civilian rule in accordance with principles of democracy." What happens now? The Egyptian constitution has been suspended and new elections will be held to form a government of national unity. Gen Sisi has appointed the head of the supreme constitutional court, Adli Mansour, to be the new interim leader. BBC Middle East correspondent Yolande Knell said the primary task of the next government will be addressing the severe economic crisis. She added: "Failure to deal with these problems will only lead to deeper disappointment and could continue the cycle of protests." Is there a risk of civil war? Muslim Brotherhood supporters have reportedly said they would sacrifice their lives to defend Morsi's "legitimacy". The enduring presence of pro-Morsi supporters demonstrating in Nasr City has also been seen as a sign of high tensions that have yet to be addressed. The Daily Telegraph said that new elections might "spare Egypt the ghastly prospect of civil war". However, it pointed to Algeria in 1991, the last time the army in an Arab country overturned the election of an Islamist government. It warned: "That ushered in a decade-long civil war in which an estimated 200,000 people died."