Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

New Egypt | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Many may have forgotten about the arrest of Saad Eddin Ibrahim whose center called &#34Ibn Khaldoun&#34 was accused of receiving foreign funding. This was a great shifting point that has led to what Egypt is currently experiencing in the parliamentary elections and before that, the presidential elections. His arrest that was brought by the government”s use of loopholes caused a number of dilemmas, hindering upon the development of democracy, society and security. What one seeks to highlight is that the arrest of one figure led to more political mobilization in comparison to the arrests of hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members and the like. Saad Eddin was not the leader of any feared political party, nor a member of any opposition. Moreover, he had not committed any crime that threatened the regime; therefore, his imprisonment merely weakened the government”s position.

Luckily enough and because of the right action taken, Egyptian authorities had responded to the situation pragmatically contrary to many Arab regimes, which prioritize the country”s dignity over its safety and cares more about its external appearance than the issue at hand. Egypt had responded and amazed us all in its development of the internal political process as evident by the recent parliamentary elections. The past few days have been the beginning of a new chapter in Egyptian political life, and the country is experiencing a new atmosphere that has not been felt since the Republic of Egypt was first established and the overthrow of the monarchy in 1952.

The dilemma of Egypt”s regime is not confined to the regime”s oppositionists as the majority of parties have been incorporated in government and a great deal of tolerance has been shown towards the freedom of the press.

This is just the beginning of trouble. Opposition is now amongst members of parliament who will surely make their political voices louder; therefore, the Egyptian government will have no choice but to share more than just the electoral system with the oppositionists. The new associates, despite having benefited from those in power, will soon transform from being an opposition party to the opposition party of the government and this is the likely outcome of a massive society in which there are various classes and sects where no single party can dominate.

The importance of Egypt over other Arab countries lies in its impact upon Arab politics. Egypt is the very country that has driven the whole region into its current form of regimes, that is, a single leader military bureaucracy. The new Egypt however, is now able to deliver a different message. It could provide a model for political co-existence where strong associates will not be eliminated and weaker parties do not wither away.

In our region, there are various models. In Jordan, the King is a fixed player, yet government is changeable according to the political status of each era. In Egypt, the president stands firm and his presence is nonnegotiable and so too is that of the government, despite strong and frequent criticism from the people. In Morocco, late King Hasan II had amazed everybody when he handed power to the opposition, the socialist party, rather than to the two likely parties. Only then did the King realize that the political status had improved, as the socialists did not destroy his regime. Turkey illustrates quite a model, however it is difficult to apply to the Arab region as historically, the Arab military could not be trusted. In Turkey, the army is what guards the system in comparison to Sudan for example, where it stole the system”s authority.