Egypt in the Cusp of Change

Egypt in the Cusp of Change

Egypt’s popular revolution is about to meet yet another challenge with the referendum over the constitutional amendments just days away.The remnants of the National Democratic Party (NDP) supports the amendments while many of the remaining parties, including the youth behind the demonstrations, fear a yes vote will repeal the victory of the revolution.


Despite the political rivalry, the referendum is considered by many a triumph in itself, as it will be the first one in 60 years that has not been rigged.


Yet, many Egyptians are confused as they try to make sense of the political upheaval and learn how to be politically active. The confusion of many people is based in the fact that the military, despite suspending the constitution, is now asking for public approval to rework pieces of it.

The challenge of the revolution is not just in toppling the regime but dismantling the structure that kept it in power. For this reason, revolutionaries, from the early days of the demonstrations, demanded that the constitution be amended so as to guarantee equal participation in the political arena for all Egyptians.

Understanding this, the military, shortly after the fall of Mubarak’s regime, appointed a committee to review the constitution and draft amendments. However, many people believe this committee did not represent the majority of Egyptians as it did not include women and Copts.

At the same time, the committee did make some amendments that pleased the people, including article 77 that limits the president’s service to two terms each lasting 4 years. It is said that although the amendments have not yet fully broken away from the past, they do offer a path to political reform.


The 10 amendments which were announced on February 25, are largely the reaction to dictatorial rule over many years, and were made by an 11-member constitutional committee.


A further source of concern is the muffled response from the military if the public decides to reject the amendments, as changes are supposed to forge the way for parliamentary elections in June and presidential elections in August.


Some people fear that the military wants to transfer power as soon as possible and do so with the minimum of change.


The Muslim Brotherhood supports the amendments, hoping for a move from a transitional period to one of stability and their stances are being supported by more and more Egyptians. It is vital that the political process continues in an organized way in order to avoid years of bland military rule.


At the same time, some people see that the transition is happening too fast and fear the nation will not have enough time to steady itself after years of oppression.