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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Egypt expected to adopt multicandidate elections

International Herald Tribune:

In a major step toward introducing multicandidate presidential elections for the first time in Egypt, Parliament on Tuesday began its final debate on a constitutional amendment proposed by President Hosni Mubarak to give others a shot at ending his 23-year rule. Parliament, a 454-seat house dominated by Mubarak's National Democratic Party, was expected to adopt the amendment in a vote later Tuesday. A referendum will follow, possibly later this month, to ratify the amendment. The election is scheduled for September, but Mubarak has yet to announce whether he will seek a fifth, six-year term in office. The Egyptian leader is 77. Mubarak, whose authoritarian regime has faced growing opposition and calls for change in recent months, has so far been elected in simple yes or no referendums in which he has been the sole candidate. He proposed opening the door to other candidates to run for the land's top job in a surprise announcement in late February.
While this is signifigant progress, a lot remains to be done to achieve a true democracy in Egypt.
The draft amendment, however, already has run into fierce opposition from political parties, reform groups and judges over what they see as the crippling conditions set for independents who wish to run against Mubarak and lack of guarantees for a clean vote.
Still, the very fact that this is now an issue in Egypt represents amazing progress. Hopefully Mubarak will be wise enough to set his country firmly on the Democratic path.


Blogger Gib said...

I haven't read all the criticisms yet, so I couldn't pick a side, but I've heard from the left side of the blogosphere (Yglesias, I think), that what Egypt is setting up is a fake democracy and rigged elections.

Whether that's real or just "If Bush might get credit for it, deny or dismiss it", take 318, I don't know. But at least some of the jury is still out on how much progress is being made in Egypt, if any.

5/11/2005 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

I am positive that Egypt would like to set up a fake democracy and rigged elections. I wouldn't be willing to speculate at this time as to whether the Egyptian people will let them get away with that or not.

However, the fact that they feel they need a better fake Democracy than they currently have IS progress. It shows a huge amount of progress in the perception of the Egyptian people. How fast and well the government will respond is open to debate, but the climate has changed there, and that is the neccessary first step.

5/11/2005 07:52:00 AM  

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