Finally, an Egyptian transition plan that makes sense
This idea has been around for a while, but finally some influential people are proposing something concrete:
A number of political forces and intellectuals have prepared a lengthy memorandum that includes a drastically reformed plan for the remainder of Egypt's transitional period.
Al-Masry Al-Youm has obtained a copy of the document, which the drafters said they will submit to the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) within days.
The memorandum suggests postponing parliamentary elections, and in their place forming a "national rescue cabinet," having Egyptians elect a constituent assembly to draft the new constitution, holding presidential elections and fully transferring power to a civilian government. After all this, the memorandum reads, parliamentary elections should be held in accordance with the laws set out in the new constitution.
Among those involved in drafting the memorandum were former President of the Democratic Front Party Osama al-Ghazaly Harb, presidential hopeful Mohamed ElBaradei, Coordinator of the National Association for Change Abdel Galil Mostafa, writer Alaa al-Aswany and journalist Sakina Fouad.
The planning of the current elections are an embarassment to Egypt, and they should be postponed to allow for better preparation (think that by some calculations if the participation is the same as the referendum voters will only get 1 minute each to cast their ballot). The only reason to hold parliamentary elections now is to cut short the part of the transition period that is directed by SCAF. This plan presents a reasonable compromise.
Such an initiative should have been put on the table a long time ago, and it will now be difficult to stop the campaigning that has started. I don't think it has much chance of succeeding, but the basic recipe — civilian control now, SCAF restricted to national security, and a constitution first so you can set up a proper system (and for instance get rid of the pointless Shura Council). The key will be convincing political forces, notably Islamist, that have banked on elections now to move the transition process as fast as possible.
Of course, the other thing is that there is now an alternative plan for the transition that can be borrowed from even if the elections go ahead. Coem January, in any case, there will be new political reality, with the newly elected People's Assembly having a countering legitimacy to SCAF.