How will the things shape up in the country now?
MUHAMMAD KAMRAN SHAMSHAD
One of the most populous countries of the Arab world, Egypt, is relentlessly beating every other country to qualify for headlines for last 18-months. It all began on 25th January last year when people gird up their loins to protest against their long-serving dictator Hosni Mubarak. No need to hammer up how protestors overthrew Mubarak in a short span of 18-days. People, after that, expected stability, peace and ‘people’s say’ there. Do or will people have their say? Will the country really transit to democracy where the government would be, using the cliché, ‘of the people’, ‘for the people’ and ‘by the people’?
Before nodding your head in affirmation we should look at the series of recent events that took place hurriedly in June like dissolving the parliament on 14t June by the judges appointed during Mubarak’s regime. The panel didn’t only reject a law passed by parliament barring prominent figures from the old regime to run the office but also ruled strongman’s last prime-minister Ahmed Shafik eligible for the two-day presidential runoff election, thus giving the elites of the old regime chance to stay in power. And finally the presidential runoff election took place-between Muhammad Morsi, US-trained engineer of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Ahmed Shafik.
No doubt, Morsi on 23rd June was declared winner of the Egyptian presidential runoff ending the ongoing confusion and speculations. Morsi, according to the election commission, won 51.7 percent while his opponent got away with 48.3 percent. But the low voter turn-out at the polls of the second day of the presidential runoff raises a pertinent question. Were people really content with the choice of the candidates- Morsi and Shafik? Also, did people really vote for Morsi or it was simply anti-Shafik, part of the old regime?
Anyway, just before the result, the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) headed by Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, minister of defense in Mubarak’s regime, issued a declaration thumping limits on the powers of the new president. The SCAF stripped the president of most of its powers. The charter grants them authority to write the constitution, pass the national budget, power to veto a declaration of war. The document also gives military arbitrary powers to detain civilians. It can be well gauged by the military’s statement on June 22, when thousands of people protested against the dissolution of parliament, that they (military)would use ‘the utmost firmness’ against the protestors.
So, it is clear that despite having an elected parliament, real power will continue to be with the unelected military elite, handpicked by someone from whose yoke Egyptians got rid on 11 February 2011. And also who “are all American stooges basically and they all have relations with Israel” (Said Zulficar, political analyst, on Press Tv on Feb 12, 2011)
All this should not take people by surprise, as activist who had engineered Egypt’s uprising had long suspected that military would be reluctant to handover the real power to civilian government as they could not stand losing their ‘economic empire.’ The military, which is a source of power since 1952, has once again hijacked Egypt’s political path though SCAF says they will hold powers only until a new parliament is elected.
(The author can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lastupdate on : Wed, 27 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 27 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 28 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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