Friday,15 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1137, 28 February - 6 March 2013
Friday,15 December, 2017
Issue 1137, 28 February - 6 March 2013

Ahram Weekly

The art of political folly

Doaa ِEl-Bey sees whether the upcoming parliamentary elections will unite or further split Egypt, and Gamal Nkrumah warns that undemocratic Arab regimes which have remained unchanged by revolutions are nevertheless in danger

Egyptian press
Egyptian press
Al-Ahram Weekly

Civil disobedience was added to the daily protests and disorder that have engulfed the streets of Egypt.

Al-Youm Al-Sabei on Monday had ‘Egypt out of control’. Al-Shorouk quoted the people of Port Said as saying ‘Leave us to defend ourselves’, and Al-Ahram headlined ‘Opposition will decide in 48 hours, protests reach a number of governorates’.

Al-Watan on Sunday bannered ‘Cairo raises slogans for disobedience against regime’ and Al-Tahrir quoted the people of Port Said telling Morsi: ‘No parliamentary elections in our city’.

The call for parliamentary elections issued by President Mohamed Morsi this week was regarded by many writers as being made at the wrong time.

Makram Mohamed Ahmed looked at the dangers of the two-month election which starts at the end of April. He wrote that it was not obvious that calling voters to take part in the election would lead to an imminent breakthrough because the internal situation is getting more and more complicated.

“It is clear that the elections are being held at a time when the coalition between the MB and the Salafis is facing an acute crisis and the gap between the rulers and the National Salvation Front is widening because they are calling for forming a new coalition government to guarantee fair elections,” Mohamed Ahmed wrote in the official daily Al-Ahram.

Meanwhile, Port Said is insisting on its civil disobedience campaign that could spread to other governorates.

It is clear, Mohamed Ahmed added, that the MB is adamant on holding parliamentary elections as soon as possible to finish building their state institutions and elect a new parliament that is immunised from monitoring by the constitutional court.

However, he elaborated, security is still the dilemma given the increasing anger that resulted from the stagnancy of the political process, the halting of the national dialogue and the divisions among political powers.

Adel Al-Sanhouri pointed to the art of political folly which has been the most prominent feature of all the political decisions taken during the last few months.

If you review the recent political decisions including holding parliamentary elections, Al-Sanhouri wrote, you would be confused over their worth to the country.

“When everybody recommended postponing the parliamentary elections until the situation in Port Said calms down and the arena is set for fair elections, the same political machine surprised us by calling for the elections,” Al-Sanhouri wrote in the independent daily Al-Youm Al-Sabei.

Mohamed Ali Kheir noted that there are four political currents on the Egyptian street: the Islamic current presented by political Islam which has the ability to recruit people and managed to achieve success in the previous elections. Although it appeared cohesive until recently, division has started to creep into it.

The second current, Kheir wrote, is the revolutionary youth who ignited the revolution. However, their division made them lose popular support. The third is the liberal which is presented by the National Salvation Front (NSF), and which also lost a big sector of their supporters because of their disagreement on basic political issues.

As for the fourth current, Al-Sanhouri added, it is the fulul or remnants of the old regime. It had appeared that they disappeared from the political arena, but is still very effective. Some influential members of the disbanded ruling party have the right to take part in the parliamentary elections.

In addition to the four currents, there are two influential powers: the citizen who lost hope in all the present political powers and the military institution. Kheir expressed strong belief that the latter would play a role in drawing up the final political scene in Egypt, Al-Sanhouri wrote in the independent daily Al-Shorouk.

Writers questioned whether using boycotting the parliamentary elections as a weapon would have any effect on the ruling party or the opposition.

Emad Al-Ghazali said he supported the boycott “because it was one of the tools that would disclose the fake legitimacy of the regime”. Besides, it is not a call to withdraw from political life, but the start of a peaceful political struggle against a shadow president who has failed in his seven months to be the president of all Egyptians.

In the light or Morsi’s failure and his insistence together with his MB group to control the junctures of the country, Al-Ghazali believed that a boycott could be effective.

“Boycotting the elections is the first step in a continuous peaceful track to save Egypt from Morsi and his group,” Al-Ghazali wrote in Al-Shorouk.

Emadeddin Adib asked whether a boycott would have any effect on the ruling powers.

Adib wrote that some currents believe that boycotting would reduce the legitimacy of the elections whereas others depend on the theory of imposing a de facto situation on the ground.

The latter believes that those who boycott would be the biggest losers and should be serious in their decision to boycott or else it would become a tool of political blackmail.

However, Adib could not express any optimism in the other options. “If a boycott is staged or the ruling party and the NSF manage to reach a last-minute settlement, it would still fail to create stability or satisfaction on the Egyptian street,” Adib wrote in the independent daily Al-Watan.

 Writers express concern about the ordeal of Port Said which started a civil disobedience campaign more than a week ago. Wael Abdel-Fattah wrote that Port Said is entering an adventure to rebuild itself in the full sense of the word and that involves opposition, violence and a will to achieve social peace.

“It is living a state between group disorder and secession from the central authority that is adopting selective justice at the expense of a city that stood for the occupier and lived long days of sadness and misery,” Abdel-Fattah wrote in the independent daily Al-Tahrir.

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