Perhaps the gravest challenge President Mursi faces is how to satisfy so many disgruntled workers, writes Abdel-Moneim Said
I was recently away, on a trip to Morocco, and when I came back I noticed that the local headlines are quite similar to what we've been used to seeing for years. A lot has changed, but a lot hasn't.
One newspaper story was about the president of the republic offering pay increases to government officials, pensioners, and army members. Another was about the nationwide pre-college exams, the much-dreaded thanawiya amma. Also, there is the issue of professional demands, which keeps sending demonstrators to the streets all over the country.
Occasionally, you find the personal demands, where someone is asking for the president to authorise the payment of LE30,000 so that he may get much-needed treatment or meet one emergency or another.
None of the above is new. We've had a revolution. We've elected a civilian president, and we've been treated to a steady stream of million-man marches, named and classified by day, venue and purpose.
Protests to press professional demands are nothing new to Egypt. In 2004, the country had 200 of those. In 2009, we had 630. And in 2010, perhaps we had five protests a day.
I don't know if Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies is keeping track of these protests. What I know is that there is no end in sight to them, and that they have moved from the vicinity of parliament to the republican palace.
On the surface, the public seems to be concerned with the writing of the constitution or the formation of the new government. But the hardest part will be the way we handle professional demands.
Obviously, the only way to address these demands is to make the size of the national cake bigger. In other words, we need to regain the previous high rates of growth, with better distribution -- one would hope -- this time. To do this, we need investment.
But who is going to invest in a country that is ravaged by professional protests? In fact, the foreign investors who are still working in the country may be tempted to leave soon unless things calm down a bit.
As for local investment, both private and public, the least said the better.