Two Tracks for the Egyptian Opposition

 By Nagwa Abdallah

It is clear that it is difficult for the opposition forces in Egypt to give up fighting for freedom and democracy. Opposition forces like the Kefaya movement and The Independent Trend are calling for massive protests on 25 January 2013 not only to celebrate the second anniversary of the 2011 revolution but to fight again for people’s human, political and economic Nagwa blog post3rights.  Such a call is seen by some as a resistance to the continuous attempt by the Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and his group, the Muslim Brotherhood, to impose their version of power control in the country.

The opposition groups consider the most provocative step made by Morsi to fully grab power is the draft of a new constitution that increases the president’s authority and makes him immune from being questioned. Not to mention that the new constitution overlooks the rights of minorities and different genders. At this point, the confrontation has increased between the opposition and Muslim Brotherhood; especially when Morsi neglected the nationwide opposition to it and went on conducting a referendum on the draft constitution. The outcome of the referendum shows 63 percent of Egyptians voted for the draft constitution out of 33 percent of the total voters who took part in the referendum, while millions boycotted the vote, among them were people of no political affiliation and the revolutionary and opposition forces.

What made it worse is that Morsi currently seeks to pass a new parliamentary elections law, which comes just three months before the parliamentary election. The parliament that is expected to be elected will be entrusted, however, with approving the controversial constitution articles after all opposition forces have discussed them.

The new draft parliamentary election law was adopted by the sixth session of the national dialogue from which the major opposition parties and movements abstained.  Later, the draft was referred to the government for review just before being sent to the Shura Council for final discussion and approval. The opposition objects to the new electoral law, saying it neglects the judiciary supervision as its absence would increase the chances that the parliamentary election could be subject to fraud as it considers the referendum.

Therefore, the battle between the Muslim Brotherhood and the opposition now takes two different tracks. The first track is the call for a massive protest and this is spurred on by the young revolutionaries who are still dreaming of a democratic and free country. The opposition is just following the steps of these young revolutionary people. The second track is to take part in the race for the parliamentary election and not to leave the election theater only to the Muslim Brotherhood and their alliance of Islamic groups, mainly Salafits.

Recently, Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the Constitution party and one of the National Salvation Front’s leaders, called revolutionary and democratic forces to unite with his party and  join the parliamentary elections race as one block. He hopes that this coalition will win enough seats in the next parliament to enable these forces to stand against the new laws and policies the Muslim Brotherhood is trying to pass to allow it to stay in power. Actually, the opposition realizes that it is necessary to be part of the game the Muslim Brotherhood is playing and even to add more elements into the game.  That is why it understands now that having a legitimate and strong presence in the coming parliament will help to prove what kind of a game the Muslim Brotherhood plays. Also with the opposition leaders sitting in Parliament they can unveil the truth the Brotherhood tries to hide using their own media and others they manage to control as well as using the mosques to change facts and manipulate people .

The Jan. 25 protest is tomorrow and it either will be a more sound copy of the 2011 revolution with the young revolutionary people believing that the opposition leaders are not doing enough for the freedom cause and that the Muslim Brotherhood are even worse than Mubarak’s regime, which they revolted against. This may mean that they are back to point zero.

Photo of Tahrir Square taken by Maged Helal, used through a Creative Commons license.

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