The Future of Egypt…

Especulations as to what might happen in Egypt as well as in other countries participating of the Arab Revolt come in handy for everyone. It is agreed by most analysts that the future of some of the Arab Spring countries, including Egypt, are based in part on the elections and/or political reforms that are currently taking place.

In the Egyptian case, some economic recommendations came out of a workshop that took place in Cairo during September 28, 2011:

  • There is a need to address issues of corruption and crony capitalism,

both of which are seen to have been endemic in Mubarak-era

policies.

  • There is also a desire for greater regionalism in Egypt’s economic

policy. An economic union with other countries experiencing political

transition could involve free movement of labour and capital, and a

more integrated trade policy.

  • The establishment of a set of rights and obligations for investors,

consumers and workers would represent an important step towards

creating a more just business environment, and should also

contribute towards improved labour productivity.

  • New mechanisms for collecting and publishing transparent financial

information are strongly needed. These could be established through

legislation that encourages greater information transparency.

  • Other recommendations included: setting a minimum wage; focusing

economic policy on the achievement of social justice; reforming the

education system; and finding ways to make the public sector more

efficient.

Taken from: Chantam House

Muslim Brotherhood got 1st, Al-Nour got 2nd… and who got 3rd?

There is always a third place, and the Egyptian Bloc got it!

Egyptian Bloc Logo

The first round of parliamentary elections proclaimed as winners the Muslim Brotherhood with a total of 36.6% of the votes. The Al-Nour party has a total 24.4% of the votes, a surprise to many and a fear to most due to the Al-Nour’s hardline Islamic beliefs. In third place, the Egyptian Bloc with 13.4% of the votes.

The Egyptian Bloc is a opposition conformed by mostly liberal parties known for their secular leaning ideals. They opposed the Muslim Brotherhood and Al-Nour, and their main purpose is to separate religion and state.

For a better idea on who the Egyptian Bloc parties are, click here.

December 12, 2011 – Latest Protest Article

A recent article that portrays police and military brutality against protesters.

 

Link to Article

“Egypt protests condemn continued military rule Workers, youth grapple with road forward

BY SETH GALINSKY After several days of protests in Tahrir Square calling on the military to hand over the government to civilian rule, the Egyptian Army high command made clear it has no intention of relinquishing its control.

“The position of the armed forces will remain as it is,” Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, said Nov. 27 on the eve of elections to parliament. “It will not change in any new constitution.”

The weeklong protests were ignited after the Muslim Brotherhood, the military’s main contender for power, had filled Tahrir Square Nov. 18 in response to the high command’s announcement of restrictions on the committee that will write a new constitution following elections.

Later that night riot police attacked a smaller number of protesters who remained in the square. Although the Muslim Brotherhood told its supporters to stay away and concentrate instead on winning the elections, tens of thousands of working people, students and others, outraged at the attack, flooded the square.

Over the next nine days 41 protesters were killed and more than 2,000 wounded in clashes with the cops and soldiers around the country, according to Al Jazeera.

Tantawi dismissed the cabinet and appointed Kamal el-Ganzouri prime minister. Ganzouri was prime minister under former president Hosni Mubarak in the 1990s.

“We are tired of the false promises of democracy, of jobs and compensation for those who were injured during the revolution against Mubarak,” Maie Sherefay, 21, one of those who went to Tahrir Square after the attack, told the Militantin a phone interview from Cairo. “The police were brutal. They shot at people with live ammunition. We need someone else in power who would be trustworthy, not the military.”

The April 6 Youth Movement and the Revolution Youth Coalition, two groups involved in protests, call on the military to appoint a government of “national salvation” headed by Mohamed ElBaradei, former head of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Egyptian Federation of Independent Trade Unions urged its members to join the protests. Strikes in textile and other industries in the last few months have won some wage and benefit increases. However, “there has been no answer to the demands of the Egyptian working class for a rise in the minimum wage and pensions,” the federation said in a statement. “Meanwhile workers face victimization” and the firing of union activists, with some facing charges before military courts.

Some at Tahrir Square called for a boycott of the elections. “Not a single party showed up in the square,” Maggie Osama told Al Jazeera. “All the parties are looking for chairs in the parliament.”

“I don’t really like any of the parties, but we need to vote to get a new constitution,” Heidi Hisham Hanafy told the Militant. Hanafy was hit by tear gas when passing by Tahrir Square from work Nov. 20.

The demonstrations in Tahrir Square dwindled as the polls opened for the first day of elections Nov. 28, with long lines of voters.

There are more than 6,700 candidates for elections to the two houses of the parliament. The 47 competing political parties range from Islamist groups, including Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood that want to impose some form of Sharia law, to “liberal” secular capitalist parties such as the Free Egyptians party headed by billionaire telecoms tycoon Naguib Sawiris, and forces allied with ElBaradei. The complicated balloting will take place in stages through March.

The Muslim Brotherhood is expected to win a plurality in the elections.

“They are very well organized with lots of money, the most experience of any party, and well trained,” Karam Youseff, a bookstore owner in Cairo, told the Militant.“In the countryside, in the city, in every alley, everyplace you see the Muslim Brotherhood, giving away food, helping in hospitals. They have a big base in the streets.”

Youseff, who is voting for a social-democratic coalition, says the secular parties “need lots of time to reach people in Upper Egypt and the countryside” and compete effectively against the Muslim Brotherhood. For this to happen she thinks the military needs to maintain control for the time being.

Alaa Hani Murad, a recent graduate from the British University in Cairo, has a different point of view. The appointment of Ganzouri and the attacks on protesters “show how reactionary the Supreme Military Council is,” she told the Militant by phone. “They should go back to the barracks as fast as possible.”  Army one of largest employers in Egypt High-ranking army officials are an integral part of Egypt’s capitalist class. The military, which owns farms and large factories, is one of the single largest employers in Egypt today.

When the military regime ousted Mubarak in February following the large protests, they were also protecting their own business interests.

Many armed forces commanders had opposed plans by Mubarak to be succeeded by his son Gamal, who unlike every other president since the overthrow of the king in 1952 was not a high-ranking military officer.

As the military regime prepares further repression, workers at the Suez seaport recently refused to unload a seven-ton shipment of tear gas from Wilmington in the U.S. destined for use by the police, according to Al Ahram.”

 

Are Elections Going to be fair with Egypt’s Minorities?

My opinion…

No!

It is difficult to speak of fairness towards minorities when Islam itself speaks of any member belonging to a minority as a second class citizen. In a Muslim majority, and with recent events based on Islam radicalization, the fairness of the parliamentary elections taking place in Egypt seem like a remote idea that despite its reality, does not discourage communities like the Coptic from voting and making their voices count.

But now, is worth asking, for whom would minorities vote? If majority of candidates belong to that Islamic majority previously mentioned, then what are the voting options for minorities? Here the fairness in null, and it leaves minorities with no choice but to vote for whomever they consider less radical among radicals!?

Well, good news! There is a voting block for Christians: Egyptian Bloc alliance.

***But, here is an “specialist’s” point of view in regards of what the results might bring, and how the Egyptians perceive the elections so far. Full article here.***

Diana R.

Copts fear election results!

Here is an interesting audio report from Alexandria, Egypt.

The reporter, Soraya Nelson, speaks of the uncertainty that Copts reflect through their opinion about the results that current elections are going to bring.

Copts, who feel encouraged to go and make their vote count, do not seem to have enough hope because regardless of the results, most likely the results will aim for a new Islamic government that would continue to discriminate minorities like them.

To listen to the audio report go to: http://www.npr.org/2011/11/29/142883188/coptic-christians-fear-islamists-will-sweep-egyptian-election

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Here is a glimpse to understand how the elections will work. Reuters prepared a useful yet very basic article to understand how the parliamentary election process is going to take place, and what are the expectations from the first free parliamentary elections to take place after 30 years of Mubarak’s regime. Click here for a very informative article.

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Here is a glimpse of who would be running for the parliamentary elections. Very useful links: http://www.arabist.net/blog/2011/11/13/mapping-egypts-political-parties.html

http://www.arabist.net/storage/uploads/Map%20of%20EG%20Political%20Parties%2015.11.2011.pdf

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Did you know about the 17 y/o boy killed because of his faith?

Allow me to introduce you to the case of Ayman Nabil Labib, a teenage boy who was beaten to death by his classmates because he refused to take off his cross, basically, because he refused to say NO to his faith.

The even occurred a month ago, October 16, 2011 in Mellawi, Egypt (southern Egypt).

How much longer are the Copts going to suffer? How is the revolution helping their situation?

Full article here!