Egypt braces itself for tougher times

Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 11:15:35 by

The ongoing tussle between the powerful Egyptian military and secular parties, if not rupturing the inherent fabric of society, has opened new fissures. In a precariously combustible political situation, the mayhem witnessed on the streets of Cairo
points to the inability of the state to find any practical solution apart from resorting to violent force.

The images of a woman being dragged by the troops, whose clothes were partially pulled off, have already caused enormous outrage. The anger brewing in the country was expressed on Wednesday with thousands of women taking to the streets to protest what they
called a brutal and shameful act.

However, while the seculars are determined to go ahead with the agitation, Egypt’s mainstream religious party, Islamic Brotherhood, does not seem to be on the same page. On Wednesday, the Muslim Brotherhood refused to join the protests against the military
elite that call for handing over the power to civilians.

Muslim Brotherhood is indeed trying to play its card carefully. The former dictator Husni Mubarak’s regime had scarcely allowed any space to the Brotherhood during his decades of rule; trying to cut it down to size. That effort never produced the desirable
result; instead the party survived the onslaughts, meticulously – and quite effectively, extending its tentacles throughout the country.

That worked out well for the Brotherhood. When Husni Mubarak’s regime was successfully dislodged after the protests, the first round of elections was held, bringing about unexpected results.  Muslim Brotherhood got a favourable opportunity to capture a considerable
majority of votes in.

. Although Husni Mubarak no longer stays there, the power is still in the hands of the supposedly unchallengeable military. While the secularists would want that change, the Muslim Brotherhood does not want to engage in any confrontation that can upset the
entire election process.

In a statement, the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party said the proposals were unconstitutional and ”will not solve the current crisis.” Instead, it called for ”full-throttle efforts to complete the legislative elections.”

As second round of elections is underway now, what remains to be seen is how the parties find a way out of this abysmal situation, a situation that neither the opposition parties nor the ever powerful establishment would want considering the consequences
it has.

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