Egypt: second revolution front falling apart

Interim government needs to reassure political parties of future viability

Abdulrahman al-Rashed
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It has been five months since the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi, the collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood government, and the detention of Brotherhood leaders. These developments would not have occurred if there hadn’t been enough popular support. They also wouldn’t have lasted all this time under an interim government and without a parliament if it hadn’t been for the coalition supported by the majority of Egypt’s political parties.

Many youth groups preceded this change and mobilized the public opinion by collecting signatures demanding Mursi’s ouster and supported the situation afterwards.

Thus, it was the wide popular and political support, and not the military, that brought about change in Egypt. However, maintaining the second revolution and guaranteeing its support is a difficult task and here we've begun to see cracks in the wall.
The anti-Brotherhood movement “Tamarod” is against curbing protests while Salafists are against a civilian system of the state.

Each party has an opinion or an objection to any stance or statement.

Snowballing

It is clear that these small disagreements are growing bigger and they might turn everything upside down at some point. Therefore, the question is: Are these issues really worth holding up to?

For example, the protest law which angered some political parties should not have drawn such an angry response as many democratic countries actually uphold similar laws. Holding protests is a right protected by law. However, these protests must be organized according to regulations that maintain everyone’s safety. Protests’ dates and routes must also be agreed upon in order to protect protesters from others and vice versa.

Even if the current regime’s allies don’t clearly say it, many actually doubt the regime’s intent

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Although these are ordinary restrictions, suspicion dominates the political atmosphere in Egypt. It’s normal for political parties to reject the idea of curbing protests because they don’t want to grant the governing party - even if it is their current ally - an excuse to obstruct their right to protest.

Even if the current regime’s allies don’t clearly say it, many actually doubt the regime’s intent. The regime’s current allies wanted to oust the Brotherhood because it sought to dominate the state and eliminate others. They thus rejected suppression by the Brotherhood. What they currently fear is handing over governance to another party that will end up doing the same.

Beblawi’s government, and the military command which oversaw change, are thus expected to reassure political parties even if they have to sacrifice security or civil restrictions. What’s important, during the upcoming few months, is that they maintain the unity of the second revolutionary front and make smooth the transition from the interim phase towards the permanent one by holding presidential and legislative elections and a constitutional referendum.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Nov. 28, 2013.

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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
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