Why Postpone Parliamentary Elections? [2]

March 15, 2011

The first post was meant to explain why 2 months are not enough for new political parties to create and effectively participate in the elections.

This post focuses on what is likely to happen if the parliamentary elections do end up taking place in 2 months’ time.

1.     As has been established in part [1], new political parties won’t get the chance to effectively and competitively participate in the elections.This means that options available to us as voters to choose from will be limited and will not be representative of all the political currents in society. Moreover, the various political currents, thoughts, ideas and programs that were conceived in Tahrir Square will not get a chance to participate with their newly found energy  in writing the future they helped set in motion.

2. Only some of the established political parties will be able to effectively participate. With all due respect to old parties, the two dominating ones (Al Wafd and Al Tagammou’) are facing serious internal issues. Some are calling for new leadership, some are calling for a split, some are quitting altogether. They too need time to shift from rhetoric and being a party on paper to having real programs with real consequences and a real system of checks and balances. At the same time, their candidates will be the relatively more appealing for liberals, compared to MB or NDP residuals, and as such they might choose them due to lack of other options. This means putting a weak party in power just because its the next best thing or the best among evils.

2. Only people with readily available funds will be able to effectively  campaign for their programs. i.e. Former NDP and MB.

3.     Only people with familiar rhetoric will be able to penetrate people’s consciousness across governorates easily e.g. Islamic rhetoric, references and style. Particularly in rural areas, but also in city shanties and cities themselves, a large segment of society is more likely to support or identify with those who use Islamic rhetoric and cite Qur’an and hadith…etc

4.     The elected parliament will not be representative of the Egyptian population.

5.      That same unrepresentative parliament will, according to the 2011 amendments, be responsible for electing a new constitutional committee which will in turn write the new constitution which be the foundation of a whole new era.

Why risk having a biased parliament run the extremely volatile transitional period? Why  have the new constitution that reflects the biases of that parliament? Why risk building the new foundation of our country on shaky grounds?

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