Last Updated: Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:17 am (KSA) 07:17 am (GMT)

Egypt on the road to elections

Dawood al-Shirian

Yesterday, I called former Arab League secretary-general and Egypt’s potential presidential candidate Amr Moussa and asked him about his meeting with head of the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces Field Marshal Mohamed Hussein Tantawi.

“The military council offered me to form the new government, but I refused for several reasons,” he told me.

“In the past few days, we agreed with the military council on setting a date for the presidential elections provided that it does not take place after June and we have already started to prepare for the elections and too look ahead. This is one thing. The other thing concerns the powers that I was to exercise, for we are getting ready for a leading role and we are in the process of creating the new republic. Finally, I talked to many people and they told me that taking part in the formation of the government will distract us from the electoral campaign. That is why I declined the offer.”

Apparently, the majority of Egypt’s political factions support the appointment of Kamal al-Ganzouri as head of the interim government and the Egyptian street have not rejected him outright. On the other hand, the protestors in Tahrir Square do not want him and the same applies to some political powers that see the extension of the transitional stage as a sign of procrastination as far as transferring power to a civil government that has constitutional legitimacy is concerned and therefore constitute a delay in the achievement of the goals of the January 25 Revolution.

For Amr Moussa, “the main issue is putting the revolution to practice and going to the polls. That is why refusing to vote means refusing to achieve the goals of the revolution. In addition, putting elections off would mean leaving the situation open and allowing chaos to prevail.” Moussa does not see a problem in postponing the elections for one week as long as they will take place in accordance with the announced timeframe.

He added that forming a consultative commission made up of various political powers to help and monitor the performance of Ganzouri’s temporary government is one of the proposed alternatives.

“It is likely that I take part in this commission,” he said.

There is no doubt that the military council is facing a political embarrassment owing to the continuation of protests in Tahrir Square and protestors think that it is after power. But from the other point of view, escalating the issue of the interim government is not in the best interest of the revolution on the long run for it could mean extending military rule for more time.

What is happening in Egypt is certainly a struggle for power enveloped in other slogans and the solution is allowing the youths to take part and the beginning might be with the formation of that consultative commission.


The writer is Editor-in-Chief of AlArabiya.Net. This article was first published in al-Hayat on November 28, 2011 and translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid.

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