Egypt’s presidential elections are fast approaching. Egyptians abroad have already started voting. I voted today. This blog post will try to emphasize and clarify the consequences of this election, as many Egyptians seem not to understand what this election is all about. This election is not about who has the best vision or campaign plan; rather, it is about ideology and Egypt’s new Constitution.
Egypt’s next president will play the leading role in drafting the Constitution. The new Constitution will shape Egypt’s post January 25 identity and leave deep intrenched footprints for upcoming generations. The stakes are high; as whatever, Egyptians choose today, will be hard to reverse in the near future.
The number one priority of the next President will be to draft the Constitution. The next President will have to know his powers and privileges before being able to tackle any of Egypt’s many problems. Egypt is exploding into a pluralists society with many competing political forces and ideologies. The Constitution will provide the necessary checks and balances on all branches of government and set the rules of the game under which government can operate.
Egypt faces many problems concerning education, health care, socio-economic and other issues; however, realistically Egypt’s next President will not be able to be address these critical issues until his own powers and those of parliament are clearly defined by the Constitution. Egypt’s next President will basically have to get the house in order, by leading the efforts in drafting the Constitution and stabilizing Egypt. After all, security has deteriorated and the economy is struggling and many Egyptians are seeking stability.
Once the house is in order, initiatives to solve Egypt’s different problems could be realistically addressed. Thus, Egyptians should vote for a presidential candidate, who will be able to stabilize Egypt and who will best represent them ideologically in the drafting process of the Constitution. The frustration with the past should not lure Egyptians into compromising with their own political ideology. This might prove fatal for Egypt’s future, if Egyptians let Islamists democratically hijack the political arena.
Adolf Hitler was democratically elected by the German people because people were frustrated with the previous regime and hungry for change. People knew Hitler’s ideology, but people ignored it because they thought it could not get any worse.
We all know the agenda and ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. If you do not, I urge you do read Hassan El Bana’s or Sayyid Qutb’s work to get an insight into the ideology of the brotherhood. It can get worse for Egypt under their worldview and interpretation of Islam.
If the political arena (Parliament & Presidency) is monopolized by Islamists ideologies than the Constitution will reflect and favor one political force, which will jeopardize Egypt’s democratic prospects. Islamists interpretation of Islam and its views on freedom, justice, and dignity are not universal for all Egyptians; therefore, there should be different political forces involved in the drafting process of the Constitution.
Hosni Mubarak’s National Democratic Party dominated Egyptian politics for decades and tailored laws towards its favor and oppressed the Egyptian people. We cannot let the Islamists establish a new Mubarak-like regime and then have to wait another 30 years for another January 25 uprising against them.
Many people would agree that handing power over to SCAF on February 11 was a mistake. However, we have to live with past mistakes and avoid making new ones. Egypt’s identity is at stake in this election. Do not let the 30 years of Mubarak force you to compromise on your own moral principles and political ideology.
If you compromise on your political ideology, you will have played a role into changing Egypt’s identity towards the vision of Islamists. As a student of political science, I can tell you that historically religious-political agendas have never succeeded. The Muslim Brotherhood offers a failed ideology; hence, let us vote for a candidate who will uphold Egypt’s secularists identity.
In this election, the choices are few and the options are bad, but this does not mean you surrender to the Muslim Brotherhoods interpreattion of Islam. One cannot compromise on ideological believes. I will not tell you who to vote for, but understand that this election is about Egypt’s identity: It is an ideological battle.
“All compromise is based on give and take, but there can be no give and take on fundamentals. Any compromise on mere fundamentals is a surrender. For it is all give and no take.”- Gandhi
Adel El-Adawy is editor and creator of the Egyptian Student Abroad blog.Egyptian politics is in his blood as his grandfather served as senior foreign policy advisor to former president to Anwar Sadat and his father is Egyptian Ambassador to Liberia. A candidate for a Masters in Political Science at the American University in Washington, DC, Mr. El-Adawy is currently a research assistant at the Midde East Institute in Washington.
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