The Pharaoh's Reforms


Egypt this week approved a constitutional amendment that would purportedly allow for contested presidential elections, but it's so hedged that one member of the Kifaya movement, an AUC prof, has called it "a political trick which makes a mockery of democracy."

My favorite hedge involves the matter of "recognized" political parties and their access to the ballot. The Egyptian state arrogates to itself the power of granting legitimacy to political parties; the new rules allow ballot access to those parties that have been recognized by the state for more than a year. That appears to leave out Ayman Nour's Party of Tomorrow.

It is now up to the opposition to turn President Mubarak's "reformist" farce against him. The Kifaya movement is calling for a boycott of the election. "If that succeeded," notes the NYT, "Mr. Mubarak might find himself standing alone at a time he was trying to show off Egypt as a democratic country."

Pharaoh Mubarak still hasn't announced his candidacy for his assured fifth six-year term. Last month, however, he was featured on a series of interviews on Egyptian TV totaling six hours. What kind of questioning did he face? One reported example: "Mr. President, how is it that you know no fear?"


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  1. What kind of questioning did he face? One reported example: “Mr. President, how is it that you know no fear?”

    Dubya must be soooo jealous.

  2. “Mr. President, how is it that you know no fear?”

    Didn’t Jeff Gannon/Jim Guckert of Talon News ask that at the last press confrence he attended?

  3. “What kind of questioning did he face? One reported example: ‘Mr. President, how is it that you know no fear?'”

    Nice to see that Jeff Gannon’s still around.

  4. Dang, you beat me to it.

  5. Does this mean we have to invade them now?

  6. Q: Mr. President, how is it that you know no fear?


  7. It’s time to cut Pharaoh Mubarak’s gang off from US tax dollars. The thugs never should have gotten their murderous, torturing hands on our funds in the first place. The money that we’re forced to give them was a pay off for the Israeli government for making peace.

  8. It?s not Kifaya Mubarak is afraid, sad to say, but radical Islamic groups like Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamist parties would mop the floor with liberal groups and anyone not named Hosni (I think it?d be close, but Mubarak would win). In future election, if any party is allowed, they WILL win. I?m not saying this justifies the policy, but lets not assume Hosni?s fear is of the liberals, it?s of the theocrats.

    This would also insure me not making a return to the country for a couple of decades.

  9. Reminds me of a recent Daily Show segment, where Jon Stewart was comparing the rough treatment of Tony Blair as he stood and delivered on Iraq before a contentious audience, to the farce that passes for Bush’s “town-hall meetings”.

    They showed Tony getting shouted at by people calling him “Liar!” then segueued to Bush being told by an elderly woman: “I’m so glad you’re my president.”

    Before anyone mentions that Stewart was Kerry’s “butt boy” (vis Tucker Carlson) in the interview he did with Kerry, I want to point out that he’s deferential to all of his guests. The other night I watched him interview Tommy Thompson, and I was astounded by the respect that he showed for Thompson. He gigged him a little on the color-coded threat, but was otherwise very convivial.

  10. The Egyptian state arrogates to itself the power of granting legitimacy to political parties…

    This differs from the US presidential debates how? Sounds like they are just following our example. . .

    M.J. Taylor
    from Reason to Freedom

  11. RandyAyn-

    I think you’re referring to Tom Ridge, another former governor who became a Cabinet secretary of dubious necessity.

  12. Regarding the stature of Islamists in Egypt:

    I’m no expert on Egypt’s political situation, but I’m not exactly shocked that when the local strongman is funded by the US, the strongest elements of the opposition will be the most virulently anti-American types.

  13. Charles, two comments. One is that it’s five years, and the other is that the nominating restrictions have been waived for this election.

  14. thoreau,
    You’re right, I got those two confused. With the sheer numbers of useless administration officials running around, it’s hard to keep them all straight.

  15. it’s hard to keep them all straight

    And with all those gays marrying it will be even more difficult to keep the Republicans straight! Some might succumb to their darkest urges and have sex with dogs (or so Sen. Santorum insists).

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