No Quick Fix for Egypt: As Egypt Prepares for Its 'First' Post-Arab Spring Elections, It Becomes Increasingly Clear That the Path to True Democracy Is Likely to Be a Rocky One. Maria Golia Writes from Cairo

By Golia, Maria | The Middle East, May 2012 | Go to article overview

No Quick Fix for Egypt: As Egypt Prepares for Its 'First' Post-Arab Spring Elections, It Becomes Increasingly Clear That the Path to True Democracy Is Likely to Be a Rocky One. Maria Golia Writes from Cairo


Golia, Maria, The Middle East


In the run-up to their first open presidential elections (scheduled for 23 May) Egyptians seem more confused than excited. "How am I supposed to choose [a candidate] if I don't know his plans for national development?" asks a washing-machine repair man. "We need a strongman. Egyptians only work for someone they fear," according to a downtown Cairo shop owner. "Whoever can make our streets safe again, I'll vote for him," says a taxi driver, referencing the car-jacking and other crimes that have grown more frequent in the last year.

The voters' task is complicated, not least because the drafting of a new constitution is stalled due to a lack of parliamentary consensus (regarding who should write it). Presidential powers and responsibilities, and the contract between people and state have yet to be defined.

Twenty-three candidates claimed to have secured the necessary public and parliamentary endorsements, but with less than a month before elections, questions of eligibility remain. Ten contenders were disqualified in mid April, including three popular ones, sparking heated controversy and inspiring one of the largest demonstrations Egypt has seen in months.

A leader of the ultra-conservative Salafist Nour Party, Hazem Abu Ismail, was dropped when his (Egyptian) mother was accused of having a Green Card and/or holding dual American citizenship. As Abu Ismail is a vocal critic of American secular politics and culture, the nature of his disqualification added insult to injury. His supporters claim the accusation was merely a move to undermine his growing popularity, but it has a legal basis.

According to a recent constitutional amendment, presidential candidates may not hold dual nationalities, nor can their wives or mothers be foreigners or possess foreign passports. Many objected when this amendment was ratified by public referendum last March. Of course, Egypt's president should be an Egyptian citizen, but why be obliged to marry an Egyptian? Those who disapproved the amendment's parochialism nonetheless found it convenient when it took a hard-line advocate of Shariah law out of the presidential race.

Egypt's Presidential Election Committee also disqualified Mubarak's long-serving chief of military intelligence, Omar Suleiman, whose candidacy enraged supporters of the revolution. Suleiman was nonetheless popular among those nostalgic for the so-called 'stability' of the Mubarak era, and fear Egypt's shift to a religious state. Tellingly, Suleiman was not eliminated because of his affiliation with the ousted regime or for fostering its most reprehensible aspects (including arbitrary arrests and torture) but because his endorsements, on careful recounting, fell slightly short of the required amount.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

The third popular candidate, a Muslim Brothers' leader Khaled Al Shater, was disqualified because he had served a jail sentence. Supporters argued that his imprisonment by Mubarak for belonging to the then banned religious group only underlined Al Shater's validity. The political arm of the Brothers, the Freedom and Justice Party, swiftly replaced Al Shater with the lesser-known Mohammed Mursi. Although they dominate Parliament and are the most organised political group, the FJP has lost credibility in the scuffle. For a year it promised not to field a candidate at all so as to prove that unlike the former regime, it was here to serve Egypt, not control it.

Some feel that the elimination of these three contenders was 'a blessing', since each had a significant number of followers and represented an agenda that would be unlikely to lead Egypt forward. The question is, who can, and what have voters got to go on? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

No Quick Fix for Egypt: As Egypt Prepares for Its 'First' Post-Arab Spring Elections, It Becomes Increasingly Clear That the Path to True Democracy Is Likely to Be a Rocky One. Maria Golia Writes from Cairo
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.