Marty Harris is the Lowy Institute's Assistant Digital Editor.

Events in Egypt demonstrate that building a liberal democracy in the aftermath of decades of authoritarian rule is extremely difficult. 

Just over 12 months ago, Mohammed Morsi came to power in what were dubbed the first free presidential elections in Egypt's history.

The Lowy Institute's Anthony Bubalo and ANU's Professor Bob Bowker have both expertly outlined the Muslim Brotherhood's loss of credibility and legitimacy, but let's be clear: there is nothing 'democratic' about what has happened here. 

Developments in Egypt since the beginning of 2011 are at least somewhat reminiscent of events in the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan between 2005 and 2010.

In 2005, mass protests led to the overthrow of President Askar Akayev in what was branded the 'Tulip Revolution'. Internationally monitored elections followed, which the OSCE labelled as 'tangible progress' towards 'international standards for democratic elections'. 

In 2010, another uprising led to the overthrow of post-Tulip Revolution President Kurmanbek Bakiyev amid claims of corruption, cronyism and a renewed slide towards authoritarianism. This second overthrow was accompanied by significant communal violence, which left around 2000 dead. 

The military has a distinctive role in the Egypt's history: it has a significant stake in the economy and gained more respect from Egyptians when it stepped in to depose the authoritarian government of Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. Under Mubarak, Egyptians tended to blame repression on the police rather than the army

This time, however, the military has ousted an elected government supported by the largest political organisation in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood. Comparisons are already being made to Algeria in 1992, where the armed forces' overthrow of an elected Islamist government (and the Islamists' reaction to same) led to a shockingly bloody civil war

This is probably an exaggeration, considering the vastly different circumstances, but how the Brotherhood reacts in the coming days and weeks, and how it is included in any post-Morsi transition and reconciliation process, will be crucial for the country's stability. 

It seems that overthrowing governments in Egypt has been the easy — we should say 'easier' — part. Democratic transitions are often messy, and consolidating democratic processes and the legitimacy of elected officials is much harder, and takes a long time. We should not expect too much too soon.