No more eternal leaders
Egypt needs a president who can share, not monopolise, power, writes Abdel-Moneim Said
The pressures on the new president will be immense, and the list of troubles facing him is endless: from security to economy, to turbulent borders on more than one front.
But the most difficult part would be keeping perspective. The worst temptation for the new president is that of tyranny, even the common brand disguised as hollow democracy. Presidents often begin their term with the best of intentions. But the quicksand of hypocrisy is too hard to traverse, and the delusions of power are often irresistible.
In our history we have had a president who was elevated to the level of "eternal leader" though he led us into two military defeats. Another president was elevated to a "head of family" status before dying in a hail of gunfire while reviewing troops. The last one, a self-styled "leader of development", may have built many roads and cities but hung onto power too long.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. This is the message our future presidents must keep in mind. A president who acts as supreme leader and father figure is the last thing we need. Enough of those. What we need is true democracy, complete with institutions, a clear timeframe, and a sense of proportion.
The world of politics is one of shifting sands and altered fortunes. In this country, we can use leaders who know that the good times won't last.
Democracy is all about checks and balances. The president is only part of a bigger picture, and it is his job to work harmoniously with everyone else, so that the country may surge ahead.
The new president must cooperate with the parliament at all times. Not that he cannot have a mind of his own, but he must promote consensus and encourage reconciliation.
We need an orchestrator, not a dictator, someone who can lead the executive with vision, inspire the legislative with fresh insight, and protect the judiciary's independence.
The president cannot monopolise, but has to share power. Apart from that -- what honour is greater than that of leading such a great nation?