02/05/2012

Egypt under tension at one month of primary ballot

Egypt lives a critical moment in its modern history, one year after the Revolution and at few weeks of a presidential election watched by the entire Arab world and the entire international community with one question in mind: will the Egyptian democratic transition succeed and will it return to be the model student of the Middle East?

Sign of popular impatience, the great demonstration on 20th April 20 held on Tahrir Square in Cairo but also in Alexandria and Port Said, after Friday prayer, was the largest since the overthrow of the Raïs. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of egyptian laics and islamists took to the streets to protest against the military. They haven’t confidence in the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces. Islamists protesting against the cancellation of the candidacy of their favorite candidate, Khairat el Chater, condemned and not pardoned under the last regime. The electoral commission disqualified 10 of 23 candidates on 14th April, including the favorites. Among them also Omar Suleyman, the former head of intelligence of Mubarak, yet perceived as the candidate of the military.

The policy period that opens concerned more and more Egyptian laics, who feel to have made ​​to steal their revolution in favor of Military and Islamists. If the presidential elections of 23th May will bring to power a member of Muslim Brotherhood, many Egyptians will fear that the Army doesn’t want to give way beyond 1st July, originally scheduled for their removal from power. Meanwhile, they remain a favorite: Amr Moussa, 76, the former president of the Arab League could also be favored by the Army (and who is also a former Foreign Affairs minister of Mubarak), Mohamed Morsi, candidate  of Muslim Brotherhood to replace Chater, and Abdel Moneim Abul Fottouh, former member of Muslim Brotherhood and became a candidate of the Liberals.

The country is moving to its rhythm and back to life, but slowly. Tourism is revived after 16-month of interruption. Luxury hotels in Cairo practice incredibly attractive prices for services, and street vendors or various bazariste, around the market Khan el Kalili, just two steps from the great Islamic university Al Azhar. Fort the Egyptian State isn’t its first move in matters affecting tourism: it had already experienced such a shock after the attacks in Luxor, in the Valley of the Kings, in 1997. But the road is still long and openness to the democratic path probably chaotic. “When we’re compared with Latin America, it’s clear that after the dictatorships democratic transitions have taken 10-15 years to be achieved. It can’t ask our State to achieve it in just one year”, says Youssef, a young revolutionary and militant involved in several NGO in Cairo. The first free presidential election will say a lot about the ability that democratic forces will have to take over quickly or not, and that will be the results of a support of Army, liberals or Islamists.

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