When will the opposition overcome its chronic weaknesses?

When will the opposition overcome its chronic weaknesses?

We all want to see genuine presidential elections in 2011 when, for the first time in the country’s history, Egyptians should be able choose their president from among a list of competent candidates who merit such a position.

I personally dream of seeing Mohamed ElBaradei, Amr Moussa, Mansour Hassan, Kamal el-Ganzoury and others competing in the the 2011 election. However, we all know that our dream cannot be realized unless Article 76 of the Constitution is amended. Article 76 lays down strict conditions that render the nomination of an independent candidate almost impossible. Therefore, real competition in the 2011 elections necessitates the amendment of this article.

Still, however, real competition doesn’t provide an adequate guarantee for free elections. Guarantees are still needed for the integrity and transparency of the election process itself. This, in turn, requires that Article 88 of the Constitution be amended to enable the judiciary to supervise the entire election process.

I believe that it is possible that the regime will amend Article 76 of the Constitution, especially with increasing international pressure. In fact, some members of the regime may already be calling, if a little faintly, for an examination of the consequences of such an amendment. Those calls will be louder over the coming months and weeks. I strongly suspect though that the regime will not amend Article 88.

Amending Article 76 while keeping Article 88 intact would achieve two objectives for the regime. First, it would allow the regime to escape local and international pressure to open the door for respected figures to compete in the election. Second, the regime would still be able to control the entire election process and its results, whereby it can bring about success for its desired candidate and failure for the others. The regime would kill two birds with one stone.

I find it strange that some opposition leaders are announcing themselves as nominees for the election even though some of them can’t run in the election unless the Constitution is amended.

And there is no reason to rush. Might those opposition leaders be opposed to Elbaradei as the only candidate next to Mubarak in the election? But whoever said that ElBaradei will be a nominee in the first place, let alone the only nominee?

Do they fear he might join a party at the last minute and get the chance to nominate himself? But I don’t think that can happen, and if it does, I would be the first to reject his nomination publicly.

So I ask, why is the opposition acting in such a shameful way that undermines its credibility? If the opposition is still unable to overcome its chronic weaknesses at such a turning point, then when will it?

Translated from the Arabic Edition.