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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership 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.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid