El-Erian: Commitment to the Public Will Is the Challenge for the Revolution
|Wednesday, June 29,2011 12:52|
|By Hamdi Abdel-Aal|
Dr. Essam El-Erian, Vice-Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), stressed that Egypt is facing a real challenge regarding its commitment to the will of the people. He said that the electoral law must be set to ensure the integrity of the upcoming elections and providing proportional representation for all, even if some forces and parties are weak.
Dr. El-Erian, during a seminar held at the Coptic Museum, said that the post-January 25th revolution parties differ substantially from the parties before it; as they came through popular free will and without restrictions.
He added that having many parties is not a call for concern, and the fear of the impossibility of forming parties through five thousand members' affiliation was refuted; though this belief, which some people had, saw this stipulation as a disabling condition. Dr. Essam El-Erian reviewed the historical origin of Egypt's political parties, stressing that the parties are backing the revolution towards achieving real independence in the economy, politics and the society, especially as it is the people who created the revolution, and the people are able to establish true independence for Egypt in the upcoming phase.
El-Erian pointed out the importance of the parties reflecting the hopes of the people in achieving political, economic and social independence in order to enjoy their confidence. He went on stressing that we should not exclude anyone from political life except those who have been found guilty of corruption in the past, and that exclusion should be through legislation or a legal decree for a limited period of time.
The FJP Vice-Chairman added that political life is not confined to partisan action only; parties are the top of the pyramid that is based on the devolution of power and the coalition with others. Yet, there is a lot of work needed on the public and NGO levels, with the official and informal trade unions, as well as in the fields of media and economy. He said: "I think that if the parties meeting here today could get out of this encounter with a unified position, it would be a clear message to the Egyptian society and regional and international actors that there are political forces that would say "no" to the methods of the former regime, and that there is an alternative political coalition that the people want to see after overthrowing the former regime."
Dr. El-Erian confirmed that the regional and international powers were surprised by the revolution; and he said that they did not want it to succeed, but the will of the people will triumph at the end and get the revolution to achieve its goals. El-Erian rejected the intervention of international forces in Egyptian affairs, as he said: "The Egyptians are most capable of managing the affairs of their country and shaping their political life, and I trust the patriotic spirit of every Egyptian."
He asserted that the next two months are crucial in the history of Egypt, which awaits a new phase of independence, democracy and freedom, pointing out that the FJP calls for a civil state and totally rejects civilians being tried by military courts.
Dr. Amr Hamzawy, professor of political science at Cairo University and a lecturer at the Carnegie Endowment for Middle East Studies, said that the period after the referendum on the constitutional amendments requires all forces to come together and cooperate with each other around the issues that received a consensus. He said that these common-ground elements are many and he asked all parties and groups not to refer back to the demands of having the constitution before the elections.
He said that there is no room for fear that a certain group or faction will control a majority in the upcoming parliamentary elections, and he denounced rumors about the readiness of a certain party or strengthening others by lengthening the period before the parliamentary elections, stressing that political practice is the element that strengthens political parties.
Hamzawy also pointed out that calling for the constitution ahead of the parliamentary elections would establish a coup against democracy, especially after the majority of the Egyptian people participated freely in the referendum, whether to say "yes" to the amendments or "no", and thus, there should be no coup against the democratic legitimacy established by the referendum.
Dr. Hamzawy continued to say that the worst thing in the democratic experience is having a coup against it, and this trend of "constitution first" would take us back four months. He said that the situation currently being seen in the country tells us that the element of time is crucial so that we do not lose our way as what happened with the officers after the 1952 revolution, which led to a state of military control over Egypt until the revolution of January 25th.
He added that delaying holding the elections and prolonging the period of transition will put us in a legislative and administrative vacuum and would increase the exceptional transitional period, putting the country in a vicious circle that is rejected by the masses of the Egyptian people, who also reject the arrogant attitude of the intellectuals under their claim of being the ones with better awareness, education and culture than the masses.
He said that there is no room for fear of the large number of parties in this period who are surfacing by virtue of the previous political repression over the past decades and the desire of many Egyptians to participate in the political arena, though the real test for everyone is essentially the mode of practice of each through participation in the elections and the ballot boxes.
George Is'haq, a member of the National Assembly for Change, said: "I have hope that we will see a new and promising Egypt after we got rid of the deposed Mubarak". Yet, he warned against those whom he called "opportunists" who want to pounce on the revolution and claim that it is exclusively theirs.