The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

The opposition makes its first move

Screengrab by Sultan Qassemi

Above is a picture of al-Sayed Badawi, the president of the Wafd party (the most established of Egypt's legal opposition parties) appearing on al-Jazeera and making the following demands:

  1. A new national unity government
  2. The dissolution of parliament
  3. New elections under a proportional representation system

The full announcement is here [Arabic].

My gut reaction: this is either a significant break with the Wafd's behavior for over 30 years, or he is making this announcement on behalf of the regime. Why the conspiracy theory? Because he doesn't mention the question of the presidency, a chief demand of the protestors. Perhaps he should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Meanwhile, the National Association for Change has made its own demands, including asking Mubarak to step down and Gamal to be disqualified from the presidency, as well as the dissolution of the parliament. Other groups have other demands, including a new minimum wage and the firing of the interior minister. 

These people should be coordinating — and remember they are not the ones who protested tonight.

P.S. Interesting timing.