News / Africa

Analyst: Egyptian Protesters Want Democratic Secular Government

Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq talks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Feb.13, 2011. Egypt's military leaders dissolved parliament and suspended the constitution Sunday, meeting two key demands of protesters who have been keeping up
Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq talks during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Feb.13, 2011. Egypt's military leaders dissolved parliament and suspended the constitution Sunday, meeting two key demands of protesters who have been keeping up

Multimedia

Audio
  • Said Sadek, professor of political sociology at the American University of Cairo, spoke with Clottey

Peter Clottey

An Egyptian scholar said there could be potential problems for Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections due to what he described as a systematic destabilization scheme to weaken legitimate opposition groups during former President Hosni Mubarak’s nearly three decades of rule.

Said Sadek, professor of political sociology at the American University of Cairo, also told VOA pro-democracy demonstrators made their intent clear by chanting their dislike of theocracy and dictators during the 18-day protests that forced Mr. Mubarak from power.

“If it’s a matter of the presidential election, you can have a secular president for sure. The (Muslim Brotherhood) does not have (a) powerful candidate and they promised from the beginning that they would not present any presidential candidate,” said Sadek.

“The problem is with the parliament. The parliamentary election, if we do not give the chance to more secular forces to emerge, the (Muslim Brotherhood) may win, but I don’t think they will win more than 15 or 20 percent. They have declared that they don’t want a majority in any parliamentary election because they don’t want to scare people away.”

Egypt's military rulers have appointed a retired judge to head a committee tasked with amending the constitution to allow for democratic elections later this year.

Former Egyptian judge Tareq el-Bishri will lead an eight-member panel, which also includes sitting judges, legal experts, and former lawmaker Sobhi Saleh of the officially banned Brotherhood. The panel held its first meeting Tuesday with the leader of Egypt's military council, Hussein Tantawi.

Pro-democracy activists, who met with the council Sunday, said it promised them the constitutional amendments will be drafted in 10 days and put to the public in a national referendum within two months.

Sadek said there are encouraging signs that demands of a secular democratic system advocated by pro-democracy protesters could finally be realized.

“There is a change in Egyptian political culture and, if you followed the Egyptian revolution slogan, they were saying openly, ‘No!’ to theocracy and ‘No!’ to military rule, and I don’t think anybody would be interested in replacing a secular…regime with a theocracy or a military regime,” said Sadek.

“Even with political parties that are weak, you still have very popular independent seculars who can win on their own merit. And, if time just passes by a little bit, you will have more seculars coming to the fore.”

A new constitution is one of the key demands of Egypt's opposition. The previous charter, suspended by the military, had provisions to keep Mr. Mubarak and his allies in power.

Opposition groups have called for democratic reforms that would enable more candidates to run for the presidency, impose term limits on the post, and enable more political parties to be formed.

The Muslim Brotherhood said Tuesday it plans to establish itself as a party as soon as the ruling military scraps a law that has outlawed their Islamist movement for years. The Brotherhood is the country's best-organized opposition group.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid