Ottoway: Egypt, change or continuity?

Ottoway: Egypt, change or continuity?

David Ottaway senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre published a recent article as part of the Woodrow Wilson International Center’s Occasional Paper series discussing the prospects for political reform in Egypt.

According to Ottoway, after discussions with a large number of political figures regarding Egypt and its future, the only point they agreed on was that they had no idea where Egypt was yesterday, is today or will be  heading tomorrow.

However, observers note that it is unlikely that Egyptians will follow the Iranians model of taking to the streets during last year’s full-out protests.

From Ottaway’s viewpoint, despite escalating economic, social and political tensions, there is no evidence that there will be any change  to the center of political power in the country.  As things stand Mubarak’s security apparatus and the military sustain a strong hold on society and “Egyptian disposition” has repeatedly illustrated a penchant for constancy rather than facing the heartache accompanied with change

Hence, the article notes that consequently two possible scenarios may result:

 “The first is a possible outburst of social discontent perhaps triggered by a cut in bread and food subsidies, an action the government is contemplating. […] A second potential match lighting the fires of street protest could be an Egyptian Neda Agha-Soltan, the young Iranian woman shot to death during a protest demonstration in Tehran last June.”