The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Petition against Mubarak

Egypt's pro-democracy movement is gathering some steam:

More than 650 people - Islamists, Communists and 30 lawmakers - signed a petition in the name of The Popular Campaign for Reforms, to try to amend Egypt's constitution to limit a president to two terms.
The petition, a copy of which was faxed to The Associated Press, called the system of one-man rule in Egypt "an obstacle to all opportunities for reform and progress."

The left and the Islamists have taken some time to get together and find common ground, but at least they finally have. The group that's still missing, though, is precisely the one Western powers would most like to see succeed the military regime: the "liberal" businessmen who have been nurtured for years as a rising force in Egyptian politics and are now -- to a certain extent -- represented by Gamal Mubarak and his cronies.

Update: Abu Aardvark offers his own analysis, and a conversation I had with one of the activists who signed the petition suggest that the Islamists are not really on board: although they sent a representative to sign the petition, yesterday the Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood denied any knowledge of the petition, effectively dissociating himself but maintaining a certain level of ambiguity.

At the end of the day, the petition itself is not that significant if there isn't a follow-up to make it a more general opposition to a another Mubarak term. The petitioners gathered under the banner "Enough" when they held their gathering, that feeling now has to be communicated to others who have also had enough.