Wednesday,22 November, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1267, (22 - 28 October 2015)
Wednesday,22 November, 2017
Issue 1267, (22 - 28 October 2015)

Ahram Weekly

editorial: Parliament 2015

Al-Ahram Weekly

This week, Egyptians at home and abroad began to exercise their voting rights in what is the third and last juncture of the roadmap to the future, agreed upon by the 30 June revolutionaries and unveiled in the famous statement issued on 3 July 2013.

The first two steps were the promulgation of a new constitution and the election of a president. On the sidelines of the current elections, however, some important phenomena have surfaced, which should be discussed at the beginning of this marathon, which will last until the end of November.

First, there is the commotion about how weak the candidates are and the paucity of information available to voters about their qualifications and political platforms. Such criticisms have been voiced by some “elites” and political analysts.

But none of the propagators of these analyses have bothered to ask who is responsible for this situation — if, indeed, it is true. They have not asked whether the problem resides with the people or the government, or whether it is rooted in political parties that have failed to come up with candidates with well-known, if not famous, faces due to the parties’ lack of popularity and/or their ability to demonstrate the robustness, ingenuity and dynamism needed to attract voters.

Or could it be that the claims are all fabrications and are being spread to stoke the public’s frustration and encourage a lack of confidence in the forthcoming parliament, even before it is elected, the ultimate aim being to generate a climate of scepticism surrounding all government institutions, as has already been tried with the judiciary and executive before?

Second, the “revolutionary bloc”, which donned the mantle of custodian of the people and imagined that it could achieve “revolutionary change” in January 2011, failed to realise that what was happening was a democratic uprising that would never have succeeded were it not for a combination of many other factors, most — if not all — of which were beyond the will and power of that bloc.

Since 2011, this bloc has failed to achieve any progress or score any successes. On the contrary, it became a tool in the hands of fascist forces that used it towards their own ends. The results of the 2011-2012 parliamentary elections followed by the Muslim Brotherhood presidency are perhaps the best proof of this. That it is still unable to produce candidates or leaders capable of attracting voters is still further proof that this bloc has a major problem and needs to completely overhaul itself.

Third, electoral acrobatics, or the phenomenon of candidates and elected representatives switching parties midcourse, has come under fire again this year. Critics protest that it is a sign of flagrant opportunism and a betrayal of public trust. They point to similar practices that occurred before 2011, urged criminalising of this behaviour and warned all who persist in it of the direst consequences.

But many of these critics did not blush for a second when they did exactly the same in the search for better prospects, better funding opportunities or better campaign machinery. How loudly they cried corruption when their adversaries were guilty and how readily they plunged into it when it served their own interests!

In spite of all the above, the forthcoming parliament will play an important role. We do not believe that it will be easy prey for the executive, as some claim, or that it will be a house of scandal, protecting corruption, as others claim. We believe that the members of the new parliament will do their best to put paid to such charges and suppositions through robust actions that will confirm the trust the electorate placed in them.

The forthcoming House of Representatives may not be what Egypt dreamt of, but it will be an important step toward our aspirations. The people who demonstrated their resolve to defend the Egyptian state, who detected the conspiracy against it and rose up as one to stop it, are capable of keeping their eyes fixed on the dream and making it come true.

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