The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Egypt’s presidential election

written by James Taylor

The Good
The first is a bit obvious, but nevertheless worth restating: Egypt is witnessing a free and – for the most part — fair presidential election.

This next “good” may get me in a bit of trouble among my secular friends in Egypt, but it is worth pointing out the positive effect that the Muslim Brotherhood has had on the election, and vice versa. The Muslim Brotherhood has been criticized for a number of things throughout the election, among them attempting to control the writing of the new constitution and going back on a pledge not to run a candidate in the race. These are legitimate criticisms, and the Brotherhood has provided its own explanations for each.

In deciding to send a delegation to the United States, the Brotherhood was making a clear statement that it values its public image and, more broadly, Egypt’s relationship with the west.

Finally, there is one last “good” worth adding to the list: as we enter the final stage of the election, there is no clear front-runner in the race. A recent poll suggested that Abul-Fotouh was on top with 15%, followed by Moussa with 12%, but the really astonishing number was that 54% remain undecided.

The bad
The Presidential Elections Commission has too much power: As I wrote in my piece The Five Individuals Who Will Decide Egypt’s Presidential Election:

The powers of the PEC are abundant. In addition to deciding which candidates qualify for the election, these 5 individuals also have the power to control a candidate’s usage of state owned media and broadcast, a crucial medium for reaching out to voters. Additionally the PEC has complete control over the schedule for the election, which it can change at any point in time, as it did recently to extend the registration period for Egyptians living abroad. What’s more, Article 28 of the Constitutional Declaration stipulates that decisions of PEC are beyond appeal, meaning that should the PEC choose to disqualify a candidate, the decision cannot be appealed.

The rules for people to run for president are too strict.

It remains unclear how committed to give the power back the SCAF is.

The ugly

The economy is in shambles.

There will be a President, but there is still no Constitution to define his powers.

Read details here.


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