- December 27, 2010
- 6 minutes read
ElBaradei: Egypt’s democracy needs less talk more action
Egypt urgently needs a new beginning. Dissent is escalating as political opposition become vocal. Those from many different ideological orientations, parts of society, and faiths unite with a single voice in seeking social justice.
According to former IAEA chief Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei Egyptians demand an accountable and transparent system of government, with meaningful checks and balances. His theory has been backed by many opposition trends including the country’s strongest political opposition the Muslim Brotherhood, which has continually called for reform and freedom only through tolerant and peaceful methods. According to the group economic opportunity for all Egyptians and the right to live in dignity and freedom is not much to ask where the rights of the Egyptian people should not be trampled in exchange for an elusive promise of stability.
ElBaradei has stressed in an article published in "Washington Post" that Egypt has been struggling with theories and realities in numerous aspects.
In theory, Egypt has a constitution and laws that reflect the will of its people. But in reality, the provisions reflect the iron grip of the ruling regime.
In theory, Egypt has multiple political parties in practice, however founding such a party requires nearly unattainable permission from a NDP dominated committee which has kept Mubarak in power for three decades.
In theory, Egypt has an elected president however the country has been governed by only three rulers who have only relinquished their posts after death. Despite differences in style and vision, all have presided over an authoritarian and repressive political system.
ElBaradei highlights that again in theory, Egypt has a democratically elected parliament. In practice, one-third of the members of its upper house are appointed by the president. He cites:
"In no way is the Egyptian parliament representative of the Egyptian people. Although about 10 percent of Egyptians are Coptic Christians, the Copts hold only 3 seats in parliament. The Muslim Brotherhood, a religious movement that managed to win 20 percent of the seats in the 2005 parliamentary elections, was shut out of the November elections and now holds no seats. The Wafd, the largest liberal party, won six seats. Both boycotted the run-off vote because of the substantial fraud committed and documented during the first-round voting last month".
Egypt has a court system; in reality however legal decisions are often ignored when they oppose the government’s wishes.
Despite annual growth in gross domestic product of nearly 6 percent the past few years, ElBaradei notes there is an obscene gap between rich and poor which worsens daily. Over 40 percent of Egyptians are expected to survive on less than $2 per day and almost a third of the country is illiterate.
For the country to be saved from tunnelling into an even darker abyss where democracy must mean more than merely going through the motions. High time has come for Egypt to experience genuine democracy which responds fairly to the needs and aspirations of its entire people.