Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Beginning of Reform in Egypt - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The neutral spectator of the Egyptian elections should acknowledge that what has been achieved from these elections was more than what was expected. It was also evident that the government sought to realize neutrality and transparency under harsh conditions. The fact is that Egypt has witnessed its first multi-candidate presidential elections in history, despite the lack of confidence of many Egyptians in the possibility of genuine elections due to the negative past experiences when the president was the sole candidate, and when any real opportunity for the voicing of different opinions was absent.

Four main parties of the Egyptian political scene deserve applause. First, the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) whose new and more enlightened members decided to allow for different political currents to express their views. The second and third parties are the Wafd party and Al Ghad party, because without them, the elections would have seemed more like a referendum. Finally, the fourth party that deserves praise is that of Kifaya, which rejected the elections and waged a wide campaign against the Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak, yet always expressed itself in a democratic way.

Perhaps the biggest losers are the Muslim Brotherhood and the Tagammu party (the socialists), since they did not maintain a clear position and neither boycotted nor participated in the elections. Such ambiguity weakens any political organization especially during moments of historical transformations.

It is true that the NDP continues to exploit state institutions for the sake of its candidate, and that the lack of confidence amongst the Egyptian public is still abound, however the fact remains that political reform has been launched in Egypt and now its course cannot be obstructed. It is very important that the president fulfil his promises especially those of limiting the presidential reign to two terms, combating corruption, and resolving the increasing level of unemployment and so on.

Undoubtedly, the next Egyptian general elections will be the most important and most risky in the country”s history. In light of its results, the features of the coming phase will be identified, as the new parliament will be that which implements reforms. All have to accept the results with good spirit and prepare for the coming rounds.