The 21st Century Phenomenon



The first round of the Egyptian elections to the interim Egyptian lower house – the People’s Assembly, held on Monday 11/28/2011, was the first free election ever to tack place in Egypt. The main role of the interim Egyptian parliament lower house is to form the Egyptian constitution for the next coming years and therefore the election has a lasting implication on Egypt’s future. The main issue was whether Egypt will be an Islamic inspired state, with the Shariaa as the source of legislation or a Civilian state which protects Islam and other religious communities such as the Egyptian Copts (see – Copts presecution ).

In all Arab countries, except Lebanon and Iraq, where elections are conducted primarily in accordance to sectarian lines, when it comes to free elections it is always the Islamists to win the elections. So was the case in Algeria when the “Islamic Salvation Front” won the 12/1991 elections and triggered the Algerian bloody civil war. So was the case in the 01/2006 elections in the Palestinian Authority when the Hamas won an overhauling majority, so was the case in moderate Tunisia where the local offshoot of the Islamic Brotherhood, the Ennahada, won about 40% of the Tunisian votes and is now heading the Tunisian coalition and government (see – Arab Indication). In Morocco the moderate Islamic party “Justice and Development” – PJD, won the 11/25/2011 elections with about 35% of the seats in the parliament, while the second party – the nationalist Istiqlal party won less than 20% of the 307 seats in the Parliament, well behind the Islamic party. The Islamic representative Abdelilah Benkirane was nominated by the Moroccan king to form the new coalition and government of Morocco. 

Therefore it was expected that the Egyptian Muslims Brotherhood running under the brand name “Freedom and Justice Party” will gain the Egyptian elections but the question was will they be compeled to form a coalition with more secular parties. Eventually the Brotherhood won, according to partial results, more than 40% of the votes but what is more worrying is that a more extreme Islamic party the Nour Salafist party won over 20% of the votes. Some sources in the election committee even predict that both parties together can reach a majority of well over 65%. Unlike in Tunisia or Morocco the Islamists can form a coalition without any secular or liberal element and, of course, to shape the future Egyptian constitution according to Islamic guidelines. The elections are yet far from over but if the Islamistsreached such results in the more urban centers of Egypt there are no expectations to substantially different results in the coming rounds in the rural Egyptian areas (see also – Familiar-History ).

The results raise concern about future Egypt as a stabilizing regional power. The London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat reported, on Saturday 12/03/2011, that Egypt’s Military Council was very displeased with polls suggesting that the radical Islamist parties have the majority vote in the first round, and was concerned of a similar achievement in the second and third rounds of the elections..

It is now very clear that the next decade in the Arab world will be an Islamic decade. Ironically followers, supporters or sympathizers of Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri are now in power with the opportunity to shape the Arab Worlds their way..

It remains to see if Islamists can really cope with the huge problems of the Arab societies – poverty, unemployment, lack of openness and genuine dialog, discrimination of women, corruption and endless other problems. If they will fail in addressing efficiently the problems of the Arab societies it is most likely that, eventually, they will blame the West, Israel and America for their failures.


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