Friday, June 21, 2024

Egypt Again


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Agitation has mounted again on the streets of Egypt. Tahrir Square in Cairo where huge crowds gathered quite some time ago to protest and bring about the fall of dictator Hosni Mubarak has been turbulent again for the last few days. So far, two people have died and 800 have been injured as the wave of protest spread from Cairo to other Egyptian cities. The Arab spring has received a jolt. Parliamentary elections in the country are to begin on November 28. The poll may have signified the triumph of the spirit of Tahrir Square. Egypt would have been on the brink of ushering in democracy as did Tunisia last week. But what frustrated the hope was the feeling that in Egypt the glorious revolution was to be betrayed. Democracy will be delayed. The Army had on the previous occasion refused to fire on the agitators. But now the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) has been asked to oversee the elections.

What the SCAF has in mind is not clear. What the nature of the new powers-to-be will be remains shrouded in mystery. The elections will be a long drawn and tortuous process. The new President may take office as late as 2013. Military rule has already antagonised people. Civilians have been tried in military courts. The SCAF has the right to exercise its veto on legislation relating to armed forces. The delay in installing a President means prolonging military rule with Hussein Tantawi as de facto ruler. The SCAF has to revise the time table for the electoral process to retain the support of the international community. Otherwise the Arab spring in Egypt will be snuffed out.

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