A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, March 11, 2011

Egyptian Potential Presidential Candidates Maneuver

Over the past few days, Egyptian political figures have started to emerge from the upheaval and position themselves for expected Presidential elections. Departing Arab League Secretary-General ‘Amr Moussa has thrown his hat in the ring, as has Mohamed ElBaradei, to no one's real surprise. Though ElBaradei is already hedging a bit with conditions on the constitutional amendments issue, I should note that my cynicism in the past year or so over his chances were based on the fact that there was no then-constitutional route to power open to him. For example, back in 2009, I snarkily noted:
. . . his conditions include an independent national committee to oversee the elections, absolute judicial supervision of the vote, and international observers.

And rainbow-colored unicorns in the inaugural parade, I suspect. Okay, Mubarak senior and junior will surely agree to all that.
Well, the Military Council has already pledged most of that, except the unicorns, and these days, after all that's happened, I'm willing to believe even in rainbow-colored unicorns. Mubarak senior and junior are gone. It is, obviously, a whole new ball game.

I'm sure veteran opposition figures like Ayman Nour, and the longstanding political parties as well as many new ones, will also be looking at their options. The Muslim Brotherhood is playing a cautious game, afraid of spooking the West.And one of the oldest faces of the old guard, Safwat al-Sharif, who goes back to the Nasser era and was a Mubarak loyalist to the end, is said to be forming a new party to replace the NDP. No comment there, but don't bet your savings on its chances.

We're still at the beginning of the process, but they're off and running.

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