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    • Egyptian transition promises many surprises

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    • Date: 05 June 2012
      Egyptian transition promises many twists and turns because new political actors are unorganized and supporters of Mubarak regime continue to have strong influence in security institutions – a conclusion reached during a talk with Dr. Ahmed Kandil at the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy.
      The discussion Egypt in transition at the BCSP library centered on the ongoing presidential elections and the recent ruling against ex-President Mubarak
      The discussion Egypt in transition at the BCSP library centered on the ongoing presidential elections and the recent ruling against ex-President Mubarak

      A crowd of approximately 30 attendees - including Ministry of Interior representatives, foreign diplomats, NGO members and academics - gathered at the BCSP library on June 5th, 2012 for a talk on Egypt’s transition. The event featured Ahmed Kandil, researcher and journalist from Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Egypt, and was moderated by BCSP associate Marija Marović.

      The discussion centered on the forthcoming secound round of presidential elections in Egypt and the recent ruling against ex-President Mubarak. Kandil said that the next two weeks in Egypt will be “very interesting and crucial for history“. He noted that both candidates, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister under the Mubarak regime, are not accepted by majority of the people because they raise suspicion from those who are not supporters of pro-Islamists or backers of the former regime.

      Expect demonstrations if Shafik wins

       “Either of the top two candidates have a chance to seize the presidential post. If Shafik wins, there will be a balance of power between the Islamists, who won the parliamentary election, and the non-Islamist.”

      However, the researcher from the Al-Ahram Center claims a victory by Shafik will lead to citizens demonstrating against the old regime’s reclamation of power.

      “The president can dissolve the parliament if they do not agree. This is dangerous because it might lead to the Algerian model - collecting leaders of the Islamist parties and imprisoning them. To be more optimistic, the Egyptian people are aware enough to avoid this,” said Kandil.

      Reopening the Mubarak case favors the Muslim Brotherhood

      Egypt in transition discussion gathered a room full of prominent participants
      Egypt in transition discussion gathered a room full of prominent participants
      The verdict passed on Mubarak also drew a lot of interest at the event in BCSP. While the ex-president was sentenced to life in prison for ordering the killing of demonstrators in the revolution that forced him from power last year, a number of his former officials were cleared of the same charges. Kandil noted that this verdict was surprising and it sparked fury in the streets because many of those cleared of the charges were seen clashing with protestors.

      “The families of the martyrs were unsatisfied because according to sharia law those who kill should be killed. If these people didn’t kill the protestors, then who did? The judge is reopening the case, which clearly favors the Muslim Brotherhood. The timing is bad for the democratic process, but I am not in favor of a conspiracy theory. You have to wait to see what the effect will be,” said Kandil, adding that the old security elite loyal to Mubarak are still in power and many believe them to be responsible for the sporadic killings that occur.

      The main challenge is the mentality of the people

      Accordingly to Kandil, Egyptian political leaders are not emancipated enough, since 302 of 454 parliament members have been in prison, but overall, the Egyptian transition is a step forward.

      “The current election demonstrates key achievements of the revolution, showing that the events of the past 18 months will not go to waste. Revolution will go on for a long time. Process is slow, but it has started. This is the first time you have an elected parliament, choice of president, and people are starting to go to elections. The main challenge now is the mentality of the people to practice democratic rights. This takes a long time to change,” said Kandil.

      Summarizing the discussion, BCSP associate Marija Marović said that in Egypt there are strong remnants of the old regime with strong ties to the old that won’t let it go, and that new political actors are not coordinating with each other.

      “Egyptians are choosing between two bad choices, candidates hardly won 25% of votes leaving many voters unsatisfied. Positive development is that people start to believe that they can change things through civic action,” concluded Marović.

      Dr. Kandil visit to Belgrade is a continuation of the successful cooperation with BCSP, which was achieved during the training facilitate by our team for civil society organizations in Egypt.

      Dr. Ahmed Kandil answers questions and gives insight on transition in Egypt
      Dr. Ahmed Kandil answers questions and gives insight on transition in Egypt
      The audiance took part in lively debate on current situation in Egypt
      The audiance took part in lively debate on current situation in Egypt

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