Home > Democracy > Egypt must push elections back to ensure political choice

Egypt must push elections back to ensure political choice


A call to eliminate Hosni Mubarak-era local councils in Egypt is another step toward clearing the political grounds of corruption. It shows the military is committed to transparency and a more functional government. Still, the nation should try to postpone its September elections to prevent a consolidation of power in the hands of the highly organized Muslim Brotherhood.

Representatives from Mubarak’s former party won widely presumed rigged elections to these countrywide local councils, so it makes sense to clear them out of office. There is a legacy of corruption with any officials tied to Mubarak, so good riddance.

Interestingly, Al Jazeera included this line:

Tuesday’s ruling followed calls by protesters for remnants of the old political order to be dismantled.

I don’t mean to twist words, so I’ll try not to. But the Muslim Brotherhood was a part of the old political order — albeit a marginalized one. But it was a part nonetheless, which means it is very much established. I am not saying it is anything like Mubarak’s National Democratic Party and I am not here to debate whether the Muslim Brotherhood is Islamist. All I am saying is the Muslim Brotherhood has an unfair advantage going into September elections.

The Muslim Brotherhood already had a hierarchy with clear leaders. As Egypt soon learned following Mubarak’s resignation, the protest movement lacked organizational structure befitting a political party. The movement had no focus following Mubarak’s fall. That created a power vacuum, which allowed the military — another already established group — to fill the void.

I don’t think the protest movement could have stepped right in and run the country or set up elections, regardless of how organized it was. The military has tried its best to provide security, and I’m not sure the peaceful Egyptian movement would have been able to ensure that sort of stability and command legal authority.

Still, the obvious confusion over how to become an organized political party is telling. And if Egypt rushes ahead with these elections, it could play right into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood. I don’t believe the Muslim Brotherhood is to be feared, but it’s always good to have political opposition — the Muslim Brotherhood has very little right now.

The youth in Egypt led this revolution, so it would make most sense to allow the youth to devise their own parties rather than simply join the ranks of the older, established Muslim Brotherhood. This revolution was about choice and freedom to choose, freedom to speak. Young Egyptian voices could be quieted among the Muslim Brotherhood’s more experienced ranks.

As we learned, though, Egyptian youth can be loud. They have bold opinions. They have different ideas on how Egypt’s government should operate — beginning with the fact they don’t want it to operate like the last one.

Virtually the only strong party in the running right now was active during the last government. While there certainly needs to be caution about pushing the elections too far back and jeopardizing order and rule of law with extended military governance, it would be best for Egypt to give nascent political factions time to evolve into full-fledged parties.

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