January 2 to 6, 2012

–          Egyptians Vote in Final Round of Parliamentary Elections – New York Times – 03/01/2012

The Muslim Brotherhood worked to stretch its lead Tuesday as Egyptians returned to the polls in the final phase of the first parliamentary elections since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak and prosecutors asked a court to deliver “the harshest penalty” against him. As the polls opened, some analysts suggested that the party founded by the Brotherhood, Egypt’s mainstream Islamist group and best-organized political force, could come away with a clean majority of the seats in the full Parliament instead of the plurality indicated by previous results.

–        Syria opposition groups fail to reach accord  – Financial Times – 04/01/2012

Attempts to forge a coalition between Syrian opposition groups appear to have collapsed, creating a dilemma for western governments seeking to deal with a unified voice opposed to President Bashar al-Assad. Grassroots activists demanding the downfall of Mr Assad and foreign intervention have forced the rejection of a deal with more established opposition figures who are open to dialogue with the regime.The difficulty in forging a single opposition umbrella prompts questions about how the protest movement can develop into a government should Mr Assad fall.

–        Libya: the draft electoral law makes sparks ( Libye : le projet de loi électorale fait des étincelles ) – Jeune Afrique – 04/01/2012

The new Libyan authorities presented Monday, January 2 the draft electoral law to oversee the election of the Constituent Assembly in June. Several of its provisions already generated controversy. A 15-page document will establish the eligibility of candidates applying for a place on the benches of the future Assembly. Being consisted by 200 members « directly elected », the legislative body will draft the country’s new constitution and held a referendum. The Constituent Assembly will be in charge of day to day business of the country until the election of the future government.

–        Doubts about the « exploratory meetings » between Israelis and Palestinians in Amman ( Doutes sur les « rencontres exploratoires » israélo-palestiniennes à Amman ) – L’Orient le Jour – 05/01/2012

The Palestinian and Israeli officials openly expressed their doubts yesterday about the chances of success of the « exploratory meetings » in Jordan to be continued until the end of the month to try to resume peace negotiations. « The peace process has failed, it is finished, it’s not worth trying desperately to resuscitate a corpse and call to stop the illusion that we can build on it, » says Marwan Barghouthi, principal chief of the second Palestinian intifada, in an open letter. For their part, Israeli officials and media also yesterday expressed their pessimism about the prospects for reviving the peace process.

–          Egypt’s elections – Patience and steady nerves required – The Economist – 07/01/2012

Yet after the most turbulent year in Egypt’s recent history, many see a gloomier picture. The economy is frozen and sinking. The intentions of the Islamists who look set to secure a legislative lockhold remain disturbingly unclear. And the oppressive “deep state” built up by the security services and politicians over 60 years of veiled dictatorship shows signs of resurfacing with a vengeance.