Egyptian People 'Pass the Test'

Article Summary
For the first time in the history of modern or ancient Egypt, the people will elect their own leader. Akmal Qurtam argues that Ahmad Shafiq and Mohammed Morsi’s success in the election was due to their organization, ideology and emphasis on stability. As the leftist movements advocated change, their rhetorical neglect of stability backfired, he writes.

It will take time for the emerging democracy in Egypt to be free from narrow individual interests. However, such reform that would arm democracy with positive traditions and high values is not the subject of this article. What I intend to highlight is the importance of the historic presidential elections. For the first time in the modern and ancient history of Egypt, the Egyptian people will have willfully chosen their president.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the Supreme Presidential Electoral Commission (SPEC) and the Egyptian people have passed the test, regardless of the election's outcome. Like many Egyptians, I myself am not satisfied with the defeat of Amr Moussa, a man of respect and quality. This loss is not demonstrative of the people’s failure to choose the right candidate. Rather, it shows the inability of Moussa’s campaign to sell his ideas or make them reflect stability. It displays his failure in reconciling the internal and externals roles required of him to set off the expected renaissance. I don't know Mr. Moussa personally, but he once gave me a citation because my two dogs were barking. I used to keep them on the rooftop of my building, which is near his residence. Back then, Moussa was the minister of foreign affairs, and had every opportunity to take advantage of that citation. But he never did, even in the absence of any call or reconciliation between us, and that made me hold him in high regard.

After careful consideration and thorough study, I decided to vote for him. If it hadn’t taken me so long to decide, and had I joined his campaign, I would have made a difference in his favor. Analyzing the elections’ results tells us that Mohammed Morsi’s victory in the first round of voting relied on the Muslim Brotherhood's ideology, organization and ability to mobilize people. On the other hand, Ahmad Shafiq’s victory depended on his clear rhetoric about stability — while not going back to before the revolution, the rule of law and the demands that constitute the revolution’s principles. In fact, the candidate's victory used the liberals’ failure to influence voters. Moreover, if it weren’t for Hamdeen Sabahi’s charismatic personality and enthusiastic speech that triggered the voters’ sentiments, the leftist movement wouldn’t have achieved such a result for several reasons. These reasons include:

  1. The main components of the party failed to agree on a clear ideas of change.
  2. The idea of change in itself has become, in the eyes of many people, a synonym for disruption and jeopardizing peoples' interests. This is the result of excessive calls for million-man rallies and strikes.
  3. The verbal attacks launched at those with differing opinions contradicts the democratic principles for which they advocate, and are reminiscent the dictatorship that imposed one group's opinion on the majority.
  4. The Egyptian people are divided between “revolutionary” and “non-revolutionary” factions, as well as remnants of the old regime.
  5. The concept of stability that is necessary for change was absent in their rhetoric. Additionally, their rhetoric was full of accusations of disloyalty, skepticism and exclusion, which stir up ill feelings among people.
  6. There is a growing feeling that the public interest has vanished among many of the revolution’s leaders. This feeling is due to political overbidding and the radical positions taken by some of the leaders that were proven to be untrue.
  7. Mohammed el-Baradei used imbalanced rhetoric and failed to unify his people around him after he left the movement’s leadership.

It was not the people who failed the democracy test, but rather those who called for change. Therefore, democracy will not be abandoned, and the Egyptians will not follow those who simply talk about “saving the revolution.” The revolution is not about individuals, but principles and ideas. And even if Pharaoh and Haman themselves come back again, they can only govern through democracy in Egypt. The people need to know that nobody can bestow favors upon them, and those who withdrew from the race should be more responsible and rise above their personal interests and opportunism. Otherwise, they will simply be be engaged in disputes.

Found in: mohammed morsi, hamdeen sabahi, egyptian presidential elections, egypt, amr moussa, ahmad shafiq

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