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Crucial Days before the Muslim Brotherhood.
No doubt the recent parliamentary polls resulted in profound changes in the Egyptian political map. The Muslim Brotherhood, officially outlawed, emerged at the forefront of the Egyptian opposition, picking up 88 seats while other opposition powers took 15 seats. Its stunning success unquestionably had manifold ripples. It broke the MB’s privacy putting it under the national and international mi
Wednesday, January 4,2006 00:00
by S. Gabr, Ikhwanweb

No doubt the recent parliamentary polls resulted in profound changes in the Egyptian political map. The Muslim Brotherhood, officially outlawed, emerged at the forefront of the Egyptian opposition, picking up 88 seats while other opposition powers took 15 seats. Its stunning success unquestionably had manifold ripples. It broke the MB’s privacy putting it under the national and international microscope. It, in addition, irked some circles. Forming 20% of the ongoing parliament, the Muslim Brotherhood faces four challenges.
 
In the elected 444-member parliament, Mubark-ruling National Democratic Party represents uneasy competitor. In spite of grasping the majority of the legislature, 311 seats after joining most of independent winners, the NDP felt the potential danger posed by the MB; its most viable political alternative.
 
Therefore, the game between both sides will head up. The first session of the parliament reflected this fact where the vote for the presidency of the parliamentary committees toke place. The NDP mobilized its power and nominated heavyweights, especially in the committees in which the MB’s bloc ran for. The vote gave the NDP all leading positions of the 17-parliamentary committees except the deputy post of the Health Committee which held by the Brotherhood’s MP Akram el-Share. By any means, the NDP intends to retrain its dominance over the parliament, after the defeat of some of its prominent figures at the hand of the MB’s candidates during the polls.
 
The Brotherhood faces not only the ruling NDP but also the government. Unable to clamp down on the Brotherhood’s major wins; the government prepares itself for further rounds of confrontation with the MB. The Brotherhood’s parliamentary agenda contains numerous objectives that designed to shake the government control. The abolishment of emergency law, applied since 30 years, along with the annulment of parties committee, which restrict parties establishment, are the most troubling areas for the government. Issues of reform, liberty release, and detentions, which hit more than 1200 of the MB’s members, appear on the agenda also. Moreover, the presence of the MB may hinder some government-desired laws. The legal status of the Muslim Brotherhood is the most critical battle. For it is unreasonable that the largest opposition group is outlawed, albeit its unchallenging popular support.
 
In order to encounter the bids of the government and its party, the MB develops productive cooperation with other opposition blocs. It, in addition, should encourage non-NDP MPs, whether opposition or independents, to form a solid front to block, as possible, the parliamentary monopoly of the NDP.
 
The MB, furthermore, should calm the fears of certain sectors; liberalists and Copts. It should try to wipe the provocative image of being a freedom-obstructive group. Many voices claimed the MB’s concern in the outgoing parliament was to request the ban of certain movie or book. Thus, the MB, for them, threatens the freedom of ___expression. In this respect, while some famous actors voiced their acceptance of the MB’s rise, others articulated their fears. Omer el-Shreef, a great movie star believes ’ the access of the MB to the parliament will not pose any threat on creativity and arts in Egypt.’
On the other hand, Ra’of Tawfiq, an artistic critic, said;’ their previous stances confirmed that the Islamists are concern with culture and art…I think they will not give up their determination to control these sectors.’
 
Copts, in addition, do not deny their worries, nourished by government-owned media war against the group. Many public Coptic personas expressed their pessimism over the future of Egyptian Copts in the light of the major success achieved by the MB. Milad Hanna, a prominent Christian intellectual, for example, assumed the persecution will be the fade of the Egyptian Copts.
 
In this respect, the Muslim Brotherhood attempts to disperse these fears by conducting a series of discussions with Copts in order to bridge the gab. It, furthermore, misses no opportunity to emphasize the citizenship right of Copts. 
The group’s MPs always assert that they are representatives of all Egyptians, Muslims and Christians.
 
The MB has to deal with an international challenge. The West and the U.S, in particular, keep an eye on the Muslim Brotherhood whose ongoing parliamentary wins alarmed its fears from the outcome of a rapid democratization of the Arab countries. for it puts the American Administration between two hard choices; either to press for further democratization putting up with its undesirable ripples or to halt it facing charges of backing up double-standard democracy.
 
The application of the Iranian-style in Egypt panics the U.S. Moreover, the Brotherhood’s stance regarding certain issues such as Israel-Arab conflict, and attitude towards democracy, preoccupies the U.S. that suspects the group of putting its regional interest at risk. In fact, the MB should keep in mind the fact that the US and Europe are major parties in the political formula of the region and should work harder to calm down their fears by initiating a kind of a dialogue that might reinforces a conciliation.   
 
In conclusion, the show of the Muslim Brotherhood in the ongoing parliament may be the threshed to further political gains or may be, on the other hand, the start of the MB’s decline, the upcoming period will be the answer


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