Does Egypt need an Andrew Jackson?

Does Egypt need an Andrew Jackson?

With the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) maintaining a stranglehold on politics in the country and opposition groups falling into internal strife, one begins to wonder where the country is heading. Upon closer inspection, Egyptian opposition groups and parties can learn a lot from the United States. If they don’t, there may never be a force strong enough to challenge President Hosni Mubarak and his party.

Following the country’s first presidential “election” in September 2005, Ayman Nour, the highest vote getter behind Mubarak found himself in prison, where he languished on what his supporters say were trumped up charges to remove him from opposition. Noaman Gomaa, who finished third in the election, stormed the party headquarters of Al-Wafd (where he served as head for six years) shooting up his old stomping grounds.

Elsewhere, the Kefaya (Enough) movement, once heralded as the savior of the opposition has dwindled into a few talking heads. Simply put, there is no longer a real force in the country that is able to counter the power and strength of the NDP.

The reason there isn’t a legitimate opposition party is because there are simply way too many parties in the country to build a base of support. To make this easier to understand, let us take the American political system to show this. If, let’s say, one party held over 75% of all seats in the House and Senate and the rest of the seats were split between more than ten parties this would be Egypt. There is nothing one party could do to overcome the stranglehold on power by one party with that much power.
Egypt should follow the American model – not necessarily in practice, but in idea. They need to form one, maybe two, opposition parties, instead of maintaining political groups that have no chance of making a dent in the system. A consolidation of power is needed among opposition groups if they are going to have a chance in any upcoming election.

While multi-party systems of government allow for increased pluralism, a one-party systems allow for one thing: nothing. In Egypt, the NDP can do whatever it desires without fear of backlash, because the opposition groups are unable to put up a real fight. Egyptians no longer see opposition groups as a means to take back their country. Instead, what they see is infighting and lip service without results.

That being said, Egypt could use an Andrew Jackson, the American president that basically did away with multiple parties and helped form the two-party system now established in the US. The Egyptian Jackson can then bring together multiple parties under one umbrella, which would have the necessary constituency needed to combat the power hold of the NDP. People in Egypt would begin to see that they can make change a reality and improve their lives, politically and economically.

It is a necessary route Egypt must take if they truly want to change their country. They need to look to America as an example of how political parties can be established. Everyone deserves the right to establish a party, but if it is so ineffective that nothing can come from it, what is the point?

Egypt can no longer afford to have their opposition groups bickering amongst each other if they want to make a run for the presidency. They need to understand the realities on the ground and come together as one. This would allow them to establish a party worthy of challenging the NDP.

What Egypt wants, but is afraid to admit it, is a system where two parties are in power. Egypt needs a Democratic party to battle the Republicans.