Tuesday, May 10, 2005Article 76… truth or fiction?
The amendment of article 76 of the Egyptian constitution, was approved by the parliament yesterday. This means there will be a multi-candidate presidential elections in Egypt for the first time in history. 405 out of the 454 MP voted for the amendment.
Next steps, after the amendment was approved by the People’s assembly (Parliament), the Chairman filed the report of the session to the President, who in turn will issue a Presidential decree to subject the amendment to a popular referendum (yes or no style)I don't know when. If the amendment was disapproved (very unlikely), it will return back to the Parliament for further structuring and another voting.
The Egyptian opposition boycotted the voting in a protest against the amendment text. So what’s wrong with the text? The amendment text conditions that a presidential candidate must either be a member of an official political party or, if running as an independent, must get at least 250 recommendations from members in the parliament, the Shura council and governorates councils, with a minimum of 65 recommendations from elected members of the lower house, 25 from the Shura council, and 10 from local councils from at least 14 governorates. Well, it sounds good in theory as it will disallow any vague independents from showing up and start disrupting the elections but it will make it almost impossible for any independent to become a candidate. I could understand why the Muslim Brotherhood boycotted the voting… because as they are not recognized as a political party, the only way for them to elect a candidate is through the independent means and that’s how they got their MP’s seats. In other, words they have no chance in a NDP (Mubarak’s party) dominated parliament. But what about the other official opposition parties like Tagammu, Wafd etc. why did they oppose to the amendment? It’s not just about bonding with the independents, the amendment text that was approved will allow the NDP to have control on the Judicial committee that will supervise the elections since the have majority seats. Other objections to the text because it stated that any political party that want to nominate a Presidential candidate must at least have 5 consecutive years in its life time and must have at least 5% seats in both Parliament and Shura council… but the upcoming elections is an exception and this clause will become effective in 2011 elections, which paved the way for Ayman Nour (El Ghad party) to run for Presidency. Nevertheless, Nour objected to the amendment text because he claims its unfair for the independents and the next generation of political parties.
The opposition also acknowledge that they have no chance in the upcoming elections as they are disorganized, it was even proved when the Tagammua party MP announced that the party leader Khaled Mohie El-Din will cancel his bid for presidency as a protest against the amendment, the announcement was brushed off minutes later by the party leader Mohie El-Din. Another example, was when Heidar Baghdady, the Nasserite Party MP approved the amendment conflicting with his party position, a move that made his colleagues jump on him shouting and cursing, I could swear that I saw one member giving him the finger (the Egyptian way), later on he was expelled from the party membership. You have to admit that this was the canny Mubarak’s plan from the beginning, you shock the nation with the announcement of the amendment of article 76 just seven months away from the elections, and as a result the opposition were unprepared and unorganized… they are just beating the drums to make some noise in order to prove that they exist and still playing on the political market. The Brotherhood have no chance and I suspect that even if they had a chance, it will be forced out by some sort of military intervention a la Turkish style. And the almost-strong competition like Ayman Nour facing a trial in June for forgery and who knows where is he going to be by September (elections month). Along with the Old schools, like Wafd and Tagammua parties wandering around like lost children. A pretty good plan you have to admit. Mubarak will win the next elections and he will appoint a vice president (probably Omar Suliman, the Chief of Intelligence)... but my theory (which almost meets with the Big Pharaoh's theory) is that Mubarak is hiding another shocking announcement by the end of his upcoming fifth term, which will be his stepping down from the office and Omar Suliman will become our President and guess who will be appointed as his Vice President? (Jimmy anyone?).
On the other hand, we have the “Kefaya” (not tafaya this time Twosret ;)) movement which announced their boycott of the upcoming election as a boycott of the amendment text. Kefaya also saw that they have no chance, since they are not even a political party, so they had to bluntly ask the President to step-down. I believe that their upcoming agenda will feature and intensive display of protests and demonstrations, featuring an unwise collaboration with the other amendment victims the Muslims Brotherhood. They will try to stage some sort of a nationwide peaceful Civil disobedience, as an attempt to get Mubarak off the chair. And all I have to say to them is good luck with current Emergency Laws.
Now, that we are on a political crossroad, we as Egyptians have to be more political savvy... the fat suits are handling our affairs and we follow around like cattle without even understanding where are we going. We have to stop and ask ourselves what do we need in our leadership? I (we a3ozballah men kelmet "I") don’t want a uniform to rule me, I’m sick and tired of the uniforms whether it’s a clerical or a military uniform… we need civilians, you know people like you and I, businessmen, writers, doctors, engineers, lawyers etc. (aye 7aga inshallah beta3 fool) anyone who can really understand the citizens. Let us drop the labels for now, whether they are left, right, liberal or conservative and focus on one thing to bring the true freedom into our country. The ball should be in our field now, it’s up to us to change the status of article 76 from... truth or fiction into truth or dare.