Revolution or Counterrevolution in Egypt

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June 14, 2012 by SCNCC

With elections to determine Egypt’s first post-Mubarak president slated to transpire in two days, the country’s highest court has ruled that parliament must dissolve, claiming the elections that brought the Muslim Brotherhood a majority of seats were biased against independent candidates. Al Jazeera explains:

At issue on Thursday was the way in which the People’s Assembly was elected, which involved a hybrid ballot, two-thirds of which was meant for political parties and one-third for independents.

The Brotherhood pushed the military to change the rules at the last moment, opening the independent seats for parties, thus hemming in the power of former regime elites to run for election.

But that push now seems to have backfired, with the court ruling that the change to the hybrid system unfairly discriminated against independents.

The High Constitutional Court’s decision was accompanied by an announcement from Egypt’s “interim” military rulers, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, that it would draft the new constitution.

The court also ruled that former Mubarak regime officials–known as the fulool in Arabic–may run for office, paving the way for Mubarak’s former Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafiq, to appear on the ballot Saturday. Mohammed el-Beltagy, vice president of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, described the series of event’s Thursday as a “fully fledged coup”.

Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the revolt that overthrew Mubarak last year, is once again filling up and large scale demonstrations are planned for Friday. For over a week prior to the court’s ruling activists–including those that called the January 25th, 2011 demonstration that sparked the revolution–were sitting-in at Tahrir Square on hunger strike, calling for Shafiq to be barred from the ballot.

In a piece published Wednesday at CounterPunch, Esam Al-Amin offers some useful background dynamics to the revolutionary situation in Egypt and speculates on potential outcomes of the High Constitutional Court case.  The second of four scenarios laid out by Al-Amin played out today:

The HCC asserts jurisdiction and upholds Shafiq’s candidacy by ruling the banning law as unconstitutional. It also decides to dissolve Parliament or invalidate the elections of one-third of its members. This ruling would clearly be favored by SCAF and the fulool since the power of the MB and the other Islamic parties would immediately be curtailed, which in their view would be very difficult to regain in new parliamentary elections (this time it may or may not be free and fair.) The fulool also believe that with such a ruling they would have the momentum to get Shafiq elected by this Sunday’s presidential runoff and thus completely defeat and obliterate the revolution and roll back its most significant gains.

Amin writes that at this stage in the game Egypt’s revolutionary youth “are determined not to put their trust in either the military or the political class but on their capacity to stay the revolutionary course until all their objectives are achieved.”

The old regime is attempting to reestablish itself and it remains to be seen if revolution or counterrevolution will prevail in the country whose revolt was the cornerstone of the Arab Spring. Masses of Egyptians have now became conscious of their collective power through the overthrow of their 30 year ruler last February. If the old dictatorship wants to reconstitute itself, it will have to go through hundreds of thousands Egyptians schooled in revolution first.

One thought on “Revolution or Counterrevolution in Egypt

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