Sunday, April 22, 2012
Egypt's military junta has arrogated to itself the role of arbiter for acceptable candidacies to the office of the country's President, after the displacement of former dictator Hosni Mubarek. The Presidential election is scheduled for May 23-24.
An interesting development in the wake of the junta's action is the possiblity of a split between two potential candidates with Muslim Brotherhood backgrounds. A third MB figure is among the leading disqualifieds, Khairat el-Shater (English spellings vary), who had been incarcerated as a criminal under the previous Mubarek régime. At first the Brotherhood had planned not to run any candidate at all, which incensed a prominant member to leave the organization, Abdel Moneim Abouel Fotouh, currently Secretary-General of the Arab Medical Union, and considered by some to be "a moderate."
Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh Abdel Hady
Dr. Fitouh left the Muslim Brotherhood and its political wing called the Freedom and Justice Party (headed by Mohammed Mursi). After the MB's externally-sudden shift from non-contestant in the election to favour the running of its own candidate, it nominated as well an alternative but emphasized Kairat el-Shater as its first choice. The Brotherhood was aware of El-Shater's disfavour with the junta, since the Mubarek days.
Pictured in a photo (above, AP photo by Nasser Nasser), El- Shater on Friday called for "a million-man march" to "the [public] squares of liberation again to complete the march of the revolution." The cagey MB, named alongside El-Shater alternative candidate Mursa in order to have a back-up plan; apparently he had gained no criminal status.
Another of the 3 leading disqualifeds, Omar Suleiman was "spy chief" for Mubarek and briefly served as stand-in when Mubarek was forced to stand down. Suleiman has h+ standing with the junta, as a result, but low esteem among Islamicists and Salafists.
The third of the leading candidates dumped by the military thru its puppet electoral commission is Hazen Abu Ismail who is "an ultra-conservative Salafist," an Islamicist ideology which woud impose a strict and punitive Sharia-law régime. Civil r+ts woud be curtailed severely, and the extermination of Christians and homosexuals seem to be major intentions. In comparison, the Muslim Brotherhood is somet+ms laid out as "pragmatic Islamicism" — evoking a parallel to the ruling Islamicist party of Turkey, the latter also in conflict with its military over secularism. But the comparison between ideological puritianism and Muslim pragmatism does not hold up well.
Amr Moussa, World Policy Conference, December 2k11
Interestingly, while the 3 and another 7 have been disqualified, another figure, one active in government under Mubarek, Amr Moussa, had left his post as foreign minister to become Secretary-General of the Arab League (which itself is now trying to end Syrian govt repression, after the organization had largely supported the previous Egyptian repression under Mubarek, and that of Sudan before the secession of South Sudan). The junta disqualified anyone who had been part of the Mubarek régime during the last 10 years; Moussa changed posts 11 years ago. So he has not been disqualified (yet) from running. Among all the candidates, he seems most l+kly to work for internal peace in Egypt, including perhaps a more conciliatory approach to the country's 6 million Christians who are largely on the outs+d of the political process, living in dread of an Islamicist repression that seems to be waiting in the wings.
Also, at this juncture, the process of wr+ting a new Constitution for the country has been delayed; Parliament has not been assembled, and the 100 member commission for Constitution wr+ting is being boycotted by the 2-person delegation to represent Christians, becawz the process is considered by them and many secularists, to be a sham. Individual and communal liberty will not be guaranteed to those not locked into the Islamic fortress-mentality. (On this, please see ForeignPolicy.com, Apr16,2k12); also ComparativeConstitutions.org email newsletter, Apr16,2k12.)
At present, refWr+t is endorsing a Muslim non-Islamicist, Amr Moussa, for President of Egypt.
— Politicarp, refWrite's frontpage politics columnist
Follow @Owlb, refWrite frontpage general editor
Cross-posted to refWrite-experimental.
Main news sources & background materials:
"Mass protests brewing in Egypt, after 3 leading Presidential candidates are disqualified," by Patrick Goodenough (Apr16,2k12) CNSnews.com
"Egypt's transition imbroglio" by Nathan Brtown (Apr16,2k11) Foreign Policy via ComparativeConstitutions email newsletter
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