Gradual democracy

The transition from dictatorship to civilian rule is an admirable goal. But rushing into elections might make Egypt’s first free vote its last.

By
November 20, 2011 22:32
3 minute read.
Woman shows inked finger after voting in Egypt

Woman shows inked finger after voting in Egypt 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

 
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Over the weekend, ahead of the first round of parliamentary elections slated for next Monday, hundreds of thousands of Egyptians packed Cairo’s Tahrir Square. It seemed a sterling example of positive democratic forces pushing back against an evil military junta vying to retain control. The multitudes who took to the streets were, after all, demanding their right to democratic representation in free and open elections.

Protesters criticized the Supreme Council of Armed Force (SCAF) for delaying the transfer of power to the people. SCAF, which took over in the wake of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in February, originally pledged to give control to civilians by September. Now it says a presidential election will not take place before 2013. And last week SCAF laid out a blueprint for the next constitution, giving the military special political powers and protection from civilian oversight. Outraged, Egyptians returned to Tahrir Square in numbers not seen since July.

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