Results of electoral democracy not always democratic

Have others noticed the uncanny resemblance of the recent events in Egypt, which have brought Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood to power, to the coming to power of Hitler and the Nazi party in Germany in 1933.  This not to say that President Morsi is personally like Adolf Hitler of course.

On 31st July 1932 the Nazi party received the largest share of the vote (37%) and seats (230 out of 615), and as such it was democratically reasonable one might say that he be given an opportunity to try to form a government after several other attempts had been made.  President Hindenburg gave him that opportunity on January 30th, as a result of which Hitler was sworn in as Chancellor, the same office currently held by the impeccably democratic Angela Merkel.

What followed?  The new Hitler-led government held a new general election within two months (in March 1933) using the state apparatus to obtain as large a vote for the Nazis as possible.  By various other means (e.g. expulsion of the communists from Parliament) it obtained the two thirds majority needed to change the constitution so that Hitler could rule by decree for four years (the Enabling Act) with only fig-leaf safeguards against abuse – which were totally ignored of course.

President Morsi with his new constitution allowing him to rule by decree has followed exactly the same pattern.  As Hitler did on several occasions, Morsi now intends to get his new constitution endorsed in a referendum.

This is not an argument against either parliamentary democracy or referendums.  It should though tell the British and American governments, once again, that voting of itself is no guarantor of a people’s freedom.  Apart from managing the delivery of humanitarian aid, it is best not to interfere in other countries’ affairs either by sending arms or by preaching our version of electoral democracy.


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