But it was unclear whether anti-Islamist forces have developed a strategy that extends beyond the vague “road map” outlined by the head of the armed forces, Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, as he announced Morsi’s dismissal Wednesday night. And for liberal activists and politicians who claim to champion democratic values, supporting the coup that ousted Egypt’s first democratically elected leader could present other challenges.
But if the Muslim Brotherhood’s seemingly fast demise has given liberals a fresh boost of confidence, their enthusiasm is rooted less in a clearly defined political strategy than in the conviction that the enemy has been defeated.
The last time around, political analysts say, the liberals botched an important opportunity.
They fractured from a powerful, unified force standing against Hosni Mubarak into dozens of groups and political parties. They floundered when it came to mobilizing voters. They lacked a single vision and a grass-roots strategy to compete with the far better organized Muslim Brotherhood, which had decades of experience opposing Mubarak and a vast, nationwide charity network.
This time, the liberals swear it will be different.
A new constitution must come first, and the liberals must unify around fewer leaders and fewer parties, said Amr Moussa, a former foreign minister and head of the Arab League under Mubarak who ran against Morsi and others in the last presidential race.
Moussa, who heads the liberal Egyptian Conference party, said it was “very smooth sailing” for the Brotherhood in the last election. “Everyone else was quarreling, except for them.”
In the vote for parliament, which stretched from late 2011 into early 2012, the liberals fell far short of the Islamists’ combined 70 percent majority — haunting politicians such as Moussa as a subsequently Islamist-dominated committee drafted a new constitution.
“I do believe that in the next phase, in the future, this is not going to happen,” said Ahmed Said, chairman of the liberal Free Egyptians Party, who headed the fourth-largest bloc in the country’s first democratically elected People’s Assembly, the lower house of parliament, elected a year after Mubarak’s fall. “We got the lesson.”
Egypt’s highest court dissolved the People’s Assembly last summer on the eve of Morsi’s electoral victory, a move that the Brotherhood and its supporters deemed politicized. Last week, the military ousted Morsi and suspended the constitution. And on Friday, Egypt’s new interim president, Adly Mansour, dissolved the last vestige of Islamist elected power — the upper house of parliament, known as the Shura Council.