Let’s Celebrate February 11th

Revolution versus Conter-revolution/ Vertical struggle versus horizontal struggle/  SCAF press conference versus Anti-SCAF press conference 

 Solution any one?

Egypt is in a lock down. In the current charged, volatile, and even convulsive mood, it is easy to be consumed by anger, rage and despair. However, we need a way out. A viable plan to get Egypt out of this cycle of violence.

Marc Lynch ( Associate professor at George Washington University) wrote in Foreign Policy Egypt’s Transition Can’t Wait bit.ly/tOSAVy  some welcomed his initiative, but many were sceptical, highlighting the potential pitfalls and problems.

In his article in FP Egypt’s Rodney King Moment  bit.ly/tUWVkt Ashraf Khalil ( Cairo -based author and correspondent) also called for accelerated transition of power to civilian leadership.

Today, Prof. Seif Abdelfattah suggested either a Parliament Chair to act as interim president or presidential elections by March 2012.  This suggestion was later dismissed by the Muslim Brotherhood Freedom and Justice party, “FJP  rejects initiatives for early power transfer to head of PA or interim president, and prefer to sticks to the timetable according to March’s referendum.”

The Pitfalls for early parlimentarily Elections as listed by Hasan Nafaa (Prof. of political science) in Marc Lynch’s piece are mainly: cancellation of the Upper House elections, no time to write the new constitution, and shorter campaign for presidential candidates.  The brotherhood also view the move as a way to bring the super- constitutional principals from the back door, no wonder they urgently met today and decisively reject it.

What are the alternatives? Can Egypt afford to wait till June? How can we stop the cycle of violence?  Lets face it, there is no perfect solution to this mess.

The only way to square the circle is to involve the four main parties within the Egyptian society; The military Council, the activists, the politicians and the general public in one plan which can bring some benefits to each one of them.

Here is a simple plan :

1- Stop the violence immediately.

2- Clear Tahrir following next Friday proposed Million march.

3-  Can we have a “Hodna”(time out) from swearing, insult and accusations?

4-  Presidential Election to be held on the 11th of February 2012.  Holding the election on the 11th of February is the best way -in my opinion- to celebrate the first anniversary of Mubarak departure. This move could unit all Egyptians, regardless of their political affiliations on one task. “Lets save the revolution.”

This proposal has also potential advantages to all parties:

1- Supreme Council of  the Armed Forces (SCAF):

By accepting an early presidential election, SCAF would show a true desire to hand over power and reaffirm its claim that they do not want to rule the country forever.  It also would save the image of the military forces that was tarnished following the disgraceful images of brutality on the streets.

2-  The Protestors:

The end of military rule is the main demand of the protestors. an early transition will calm the anger and defuse the current tense atmosphere. Plus, it would help them to focus on the political process and the campaign for a president who can fulfil their aspirations.

3-  The Politicians ( including the Brotherhood):

Despite their rejection of the proposal, I think the brotherhood stand a lot to gain from it:

a- It would  narrow the gap between them and Tahrir. After many has accused them of  opportunism and indifference to the loss of human lives, it is about time to show some flexibility, and more important some patriotism.

b-  It would refute any claim of potential secret alliance with the military council in order to reach power.

c-  It would give them with a better chance and longer time to write the constitution  (as March lynch pointed out in his piece)

Other political parties should also seize the opportunity  and focus on selecting and backing their favourite candidate for the presidential election.

4- The General Public:

The so called “silent majority”  has certainly started to lose patience with every body including “their beloved Military Council ” They are yearning for stability, jobs and security. and an accelerated process would certainly help them to achieve these demands.

Now, Do I want the like of Abu-Ismail as President ? Certainly not and I admit the the shorter campaign is a big problem. However, I frankly think most Egyptians have made their mind regarding who they like and who they do not among the current candidates. Plus, if the activists use the remaining few weeks efficiently and channel their anger in a door to door campaign, they stand a good chance to swing the undecided voters towards their favourite candidate.

Meanwhile, you have three options; You either agree with my proposal, amend it or provide an alternative one, but dismissing it is simply not an option!

Despair is not an option, this revolution has to prevail. The legendary writer Ihsan Abdel Kouddous  wrote “You can not switch of the sun-light”  and he is right, Egypt’s sun is eternal, no one can switch it off.


About nervana111

Doctor, blogger and Commentator on Middle East issues. The only practising doctor who write in Middle Eastern politics in UK.
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6 Responses to Let’s Celebrate February 11th

  1. 1 there is a key question what is the status of scaf after these held election
    2 having a president without a clear constitution is not clear what the next president power is
    3 the relationship between the parliament with a majority of political Islam and a liberal as a president will be hard to define


    • nervana111 says:

      Great points:
      1- the whole aim is for SCAF to hand over power and return to their Barracks
      2- The President will be an interim president with temporarily power ( similar to the Tunisian example)
      3- Difficult to predict the affiliation of the next president and the relationship would be tense regardless with the election early or late.


      • Hany Gh says:

        we are missing something that we all dont know its what is the scaf really hiding did he really have a secret deal with mb. will they really accept that the next president be the executive chef of the army force. the elected presidents power is not constitutional and they need to modify this are we heading to a Pakistan example given the okay by USA


      • nervana111 says:

        No one can really claim knowledge of SCAF mind, I guess they don’t want an early election as they don’t have a favourite presidential candidate yet !!!


      • lissnup says:

        I agree Hany, the overall atmosphere seems to be lacking: lack of trust, lack of transparency, lack of consultation evident from autocratic decision making, and what plans are made public are so complicated, the average person can’t understand them.


  2. lissnup says:

    I am not convinced that a speedy presidential election alone would be enough to calm the situation in Egypt. I live in a relatively conservative, stable society, so my instincts say that ending the violence, building and maintaining calm are the top priority because that would restore a familiar status quo for my personal experience. However, the family living next door to me are addicted to drama and violence, and regardless of how many times the police arrive to kick their door in, or arrest some or all of the occupants, they are committed to continuing. I don’t know if most Egyptians are like me, or more like my neighbors. I want to believe that most Egyptians feel that they need calm right now, but I am aware that a significant number may still need to vent their frustration and anger. Elections may not be the right antidote for this group, if they need their grievances to be heard.

    Clearly some Egyptians see SCAF as the good guys, despite the evidence myself and others have seen online. Ignoring that group could jeopardize any new election plans if there is insufficient time to engage with them and make them feel included in the decision. And on the subject of planning – looking at the current elections gives me no confidence at all that there are enough skilled, experienced resources in Egypt to organize elections by February. I often wonder whether countries dealing with the aftermath of an uprising would benefit from inviting impartial external experts and advisers to help with the leg work of critical processes like elections. Sadly, in Egypt’s case, there seems to be a rampant paranoia about foreigners that excludes this option.

    Whatever is decided – and I do hope some immediate and decisive action will be taken – my final though about Egypt is that simply transferring power from SCAF to any other body is not going to be enough. They are a rogue organization and in my opinion they need to be contained and rehabilitated.


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