Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

Tue109 2018

Last update19:14 PM GMT

Back to Homepage
Font Size : 12 point 14 point 16 point 18 point
:: Issues > Democracy
Previewing Egypt's Upcoming Elections
Previewing Egypt's Upcoming Elections
With the approach of the 2010 Egyptian parliamentary elections and 2011 presidential election, the opposition has been reinvigorated, especially since the arrival of former IAEA Chief Inspector Mohamed ElBaradei.
Saturday, May 29,2010 09:32
by Amr Hamzawy , Michele Dunne Carnegie Endowment
The Carnegie Middle East Center’s Amr Hamzawy discussed the significance of upcoming elections and challenges facing the Egyptian opposition in the months ahead with Jeremy Sharp of the Congressional Research Service. Carnegie’s Michele Dunne moderated.

The Legal Environment

 Hamzawy described the various laws and constitutional articles that will govern the upcoming elections: 

  • Article 88 of the Egyptian Constitution originally required that election balloting “take place under the supervision of a judicial body.” It was amended in 2007 to remove judicial supervision of elections, replacing it with a semi-independent electoral commission.
     
  • Article 76 of the Egyptian Constitution essentially restricts presidential candidates to political parties registered with, and approved by, the existing government. It sets out extremely difficult conditions for independents to get on the ballot for the presidency.
     
  • Article 77 of the Egyptian Constitution does not contain term limits for the president.
     
  • Emergency Law: Egypt has been under a state of emergency since 1981, and the current government is likely to renew the emergency law soon. As a result:o
    • Political entities cannot mobilize or organize rallies.
    • Opposition actors can be easily harassed or imprisoned without trial.

Government Tools

The government uses a number of methods in order to maintain political power while engaging in the election process, Hamzawy stated. In particular, the government has undertaken the following policies: 

  • Rejecting amendments intended to change the restrictive legal environment
     
  • Targeted repression against groups it perceives as particularly threatening
     
  • ”Periodizing” the way Egyptians discuss and approach the three upcoming elections--Shura Council in June 2010, People’s Assembly in November 2010, presidency in autumn 2011—and trying to limit popular discussion to the parliamentary elections for now in order to keep the populace from looking at the elections as a long-term means of comprehensive change
     
  • Influencing established political parties, which have been domesticated by the government and are now dependent on it to secure a share in the parliament to be elected
     
  • Democracy-based rhetoric, which the regime employs domestically and internationally.

Informal opposition

Hamzawy discussed the similarities and differences between the opposition movements before the 2005 elections and the movement currently taking shape in Egypt: 

  • Platform: The 2004-05 opposition’s platform was a maximalist one, which sought rapid large-scale transformations of Egyptian politics and society. The modern opposition has a similar outlook, structuring its platform around the same essential demands:
    • Constitutional amendments
    • Presidential succession not based on Mubarak’s son or close confidantes.
  • Members: The composition of the current spectrum of opposition is quite similar to that of 2004-5. The opposition is still made up of:
    • Informal networks and loose alliances united around one platform.
    • Activists uniting across ideological lines.
  • Future Planning: While the 2004-5 opposition had a wide-ranging platform, it was not able to translate that platform into an action plan. Similarly, the current Egyptian opposition has not yet formulated an action plan to accomplish its goals.

Muslim Brotherhood

In the 2005 elections, the Muslim Brotherhood was viewed as the leading opposition group, Hamzawy said, but in the current phase the movement appears to be following other opposition groups rather than leading. In the intervening years, the Brotherhood has undergone significant regime repression as well as a leadership change. The Brotherhood will still contest elections (even for the Shura Council, where it has never won a seat) and is attempting to work with other opposition groups and harmonize their demands. Hamzawy believed that the Brothers will take a cautious policy toward ElBaradei, pledging support and criticizing him at the same time.

ElBaradei

The one significant difference between the 2005 elections and the current phase is the presence of ElBaradei, a figure above the fray behind whom many opposition groups can unite:

  • Newcomer Advantage: ElBaradei’s long absence from Egypt means that he has not been involved in any of the rampant corruption endemic to the Egyptian political system.
     
  • Gaining Momentum: ElBaradei seems to have reenergized the political scene in Egypt, which has been stagnant for the past few years.
     
  • Working on Policy Positions: Hamzawy observed that ElBaradei has made some ill-advised statements on foreign policy, for example Gaza, which he later retracted.  ElBaradei needs to make it clear that he is not easily swayed by those around him when it comes to foreign policy.
     
  • Needs Broader Outreach: Hamzawy also pointed out that ElBaradei’s strongest support so far comes primarily from youth and Egyptian expatriates. ElBaradei needs to reach out to other crucial constituencies, including the military, labor groups, Copts, the business community, and young Muslim Brotherhood members who seem attracted to his cause.

Egypt’s Election and the United States

Jeremy Sharp highlighted the improvement in Egyptian-U.S. governmental relations recently, parallel to an improvement in Egyptian-Israeli relations. This still matters a great deal in how U.S. decision makers, particularly in the Congress, view Egypt.  In a discussion after the presentation, Amr Hamzawy responded to a question about what the United States can do to promote free elections in Egypt by noting that Washington should be able to support the demands now emerging from the Egyptian opposition: restoring judicial supervision, domestic and international monitoring, and opening up the presidential election to independent candidates.

tags: Egyptian Parliamentary Elections / Egyptian Opposition / ElBaradei / Middle East / Opposition Parties / Political Reform / Emergency Law / Shura Council / Gaza / Copts / Egyptian Constitution / Judicial System / Moderate Muslim Brotherhood
Posted in Democracy , MB in International press  
Add Comment Send to Friend Print
Related Articles
Conference in Solidarity with Gaza
Mubarak’s Last Breath
Court clears the way for first MB Shura Council member-elect
Israeli warplanes raid northern Gaza
Herzog: Freedom Flotilla will reach Gaza if there are pledges to release Shalit
Mubarak's fair elections fail as security thwarts publicity
Egypt: PM expresses support for Mubarak's sixth term
MB chairman meets with candidates for Shura Council
ElBaradei criticizes Egyptian govt for extending emergency law
Emergency law means more emergency for Egyptians
MB MP: Emergency Law, instrument of tyranny and oppression
MB chairman meets with Ghad Party leader to discuss political reform
MB's comprehensive proposal for Shura Council elections
ElBaradei blames Al Dostor for translation errors of his statements about MB
Corruption report not too positive for Middle East
Egypt: ElBaradei Remains the Center of Attention
My advice to ElBaradei
Four Things Obama Needs to Do in the Middle East
POMED Notes: FY2011 Appropriations and Middle East Democracy”
MB chairman: MB support Dr.Baradei's call for Political Reform
ElBaradei's political reform campaign continues rounds on the road
MB and opposition parties support demonstrations victims
Egyptian opposition form coalition around ElBaradei
Egyptian Opposition Turns Attention to Jailed Blogger
High food prices revive Egypt’s opposition parties
Egyptian Opposition Protests Gov’t Violations Ahead of Local Elections
Egyptian Opposition Paper Editor Stands Trial for Article on Mubarak’s Failing Health
Dunne: ‘Very Dramatic’ Achievement for Muslim Brotherhood in Egyptian Parliamentary Elections
First Round of Egyptian Parliamentary Elections
Widespread violence mars second round of Egyptian parliamentary elections
Muslim Brotherhood to Coordinate with Other Opposition Parties on Reform
Egyptian Parliamentary Elections: CNN interviews Amr Hamzawy
The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood
The Debate About The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood Continues