A different leader
By Salama A Salama
Egyptians are faced with a president who is radically different in his personality, performance, and cultural and social background from all those who came before him. He seems to be more populist and closer to the simple folks of the countryside, and more averse to pomp and ceremony. He studied and worked in America, the most advanced country in the world, which gave him a scientific and cultural background our preceding presidents didn't have.
So far, Mohamed Mursi has scorned the hypocritical congratulations and dispensed with the strict security of the past. He doesn't want lines of policemen to stand for hours waiting for his motorcade to pass, a silly practice that one doesn't see in other countries.
Such practices were common enough before. It was common for the security services to erect a barrier between the people and the ruler, imparting on him a sacred aura that has nothing to do with protecting him, but only leads to traffic jams and suffering for all.
Until the new president forms his government, a government of national unity, as he promised, he will be held in doubt and will continue to be bombarded with letters and proposals.
Everyone is trying to give advice to the new president. Everyone has terms and conditions to impose. The politicians have many things to say. The intellectuals have other things. The journalists and writers keep telling Mursi that he came to power in the name of the people and that he is responsible for building a civil state, a state in which Egyptians have the dignified life their deserve.
Women appear to be taken aback by the simplicity of the president's wife, and women groups don't know how to deal with her. As for the intellectuals, some of them criticise Mursi for his lack of knowledge about the ancient history of Egypt.
In his speeches, Mursi didn't mention the any of Egypt's top artists and creative minds by name. But everyone wants him to initiate national reconciliation and build a modern and democratic state, as well as revive the economy, defend freedom and justice, and guarantees the rights of women and the freedom of religion.
Many are keeping a close eye on Mursi. Many promised that any attempt to Islamicise the country or impose Muslim Brotherhood ideas on the nation would backfire.
Many are placing obstacles or thorns in the path of the new regime. Some speak about the Muslim Brotherhood in the same way they used to speak about the National Democratic Party. For them, Khairat El-Shater is a new version of Ahmed Ezz, Mahmoud Ezzat is a copy of Omar Suleiman, and Abdel-Rahman El-Birr is a reincarnation of Fathi Sorour, etc.
Belittling the new president, critics claim that he is not allowed to make any decision on his own. They say that he has to consult first with those above him, people like the financial wizard El-Shater or the Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie.
People are more enthusiastic about looking into the reasons Mursi may fail rather than the reasons he may succeed. Their assumption is that Egypt always gets a president who starts out being humble and ends up being corrupted and abusive.
The Egyptian people are not going to let this happen. They are not going to allow the experience of Mubarak and his entourage to be repeated. This is why it is important to write a constitution, establish a separation of powers, ensure the independence of the judiciary, and submit the ruler to strict oversight by parliament.
Let's not waste more time with the transitional period. Let's write the constitution, hold legislative elections, and move on.