A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Egypt's Electoral Calendar: Too Long?

Egypt's Supreme Council of the Armed Forces has been meeting with political parties, explaining their proposed schedule for Parliamentary elections. Not everyone is happy. Elections, originally promised for September (that is, now) and delayed until November, would indeed begin on November 21 with the first of three rounds for the lower house (the People's Assembly), with those rounds concluding in January and followed by three rounds for the Upper House (the Shura Council), extending into April. Once a new Parliament is elected, it would in turn create a new constitution. Only once the new Constitution is in place would Presidential elections be held, sometime late next summer. Some details here.

The recent extension of the Emergency Law into next summer at the least, has led to suspicions that the military may not be as eager to transfer power as they claim. On the other hand, many of the newer parties originally wanted to delay elections until next year to allow longer time for party organizations to build infrastructure, fearing that early elections would favor the Muslim Brotherhood. The problem is that there is a growing sense that the revolution has lost its momentum, that the old guard is retrenching.

There are certainly political figures and parties urging a faster electoral calendar. One of the problems is a growing distrust of SCAF, which remains remarkably opaque in its decision-making.  Who is really making the decisions is anything but clear.

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