To prevent overt military custodianship, the new president, Mohamed Morsi, and Egypt’s political parties must reach a firm consensus on limiting the exceptional powers the SCAF seeks to embed in the new constitution. Asserting effective civilian oversight over the detail of the defense budget and any other military funding streams is also key.
Yet, the civilian leaders must tread carefully. The more progress they make, the harder the officers’ republic will fight to hold on to its power, potentially using its extensive networks throughout the state apparatus to obstruct government policies and reforms, impede public service delivery, and undermine the nascent democratic order. Egypt’s second republic will only come to life when the officers’ republic ceases to exist.