Welcome to Kalamna, the student blog of the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies at NYU.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tagheer Egypt can believe in?

Two months have passed since the mass uprising in Egypt toppled the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Since then, the supreme military council has commissioned a committee to amend the constitution, and a referendum was held to approve these constitutional amendments. Yet despite the euphoria that swept the nation two months ago, there are many concerns that the revolution's momentum has been stumbling of late.

For instance, the supreme military council led by Field Marshall Mohamed Hussein Tantawi has come under fire recently for supposedly dragging its feet in prosecuting former Mubarak cronies. Mubarak himself may be constrained by house arrest in Sharm el-Sheikh, but there is little doubt that the vast network of patronage that underpinned his rule has yet to be fully dismantled. Furthermore, the military council's recent warning that continued demonstrations and strikes will not be tolerated certainly hasn't won it many new fans. The same can be said about the arrest of a blogger who has dared to criticized the military council's leadership.

Another source of frustration are the constitutional amendments that many considered to have been rushed through. Though the referendum approved these amendments by a solid majority of 77%, many of the leaders who were at the forefront of the uprising campaigned vigorously against it them. Since these amendments call for elections by September, they naturally privilege the parties that are more organized at the moment. This would give a significant advantage to movements like the Muslim Brotherhood and remnants of the NDP. Conversely, holding elections so soon would pose a challenge to many of the younger, less organized movements that still have not formed adequate cohesion following the uprising. This is why many of them campaigned against the amendments.

The military has pledged to transfer power to a civilian government after elections are held in September. Yet it remains to be seen if an elected civilian government will carry the revolution to its completion, or whether it will be subject to the military at the end of the day. The 18-day uprising that ousted Mubarak was certainly an astonishing achievement in and of itself. Yet clearly, the revolution has a lot more work to do.

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