The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Is this where the Egyptian center is at?

In the media, Egypt's die-hard (mostly leftist) revolutionaries, the Muslim Brothers and their vision of a "renaissance" for Egypt, and the Salafists and their "back-to-8th-century-basics" approach get the most coverage. But there is also a wide part of Egyptian society that wants credible action, social peace, and economic improvement — and the presidential candidate that can appeal to these people probably has the best chance.

That appears to be what Amr Moussa is doing — as reported by Heba Afify in this excellent Egypt Independent piece from the campaign trail in Gharbeia:

Moussa’s practical speeches appealed to the audience who came to the rallies hoping to hear exactly that. As supportive as they say they are of the revolution, they seemed hungry for stability.

“We want the old regime but without the corruption, with a fresh outlook,” said Abel Alim Bedeir, a veterinarian from Gabereya. “We don’t want someone new who would shake the whole being of the state and start from scratch.”

Having served under Mubarak for 10 years as foreign minister, but one who has distanced himself from the taint of corruption, Moussa is a perfect choice for Bedeir and many others who want change — but not too much.

Realizing that the people are out of patience after over a year of economic hardship and disappointment, Moussa offers a plan promising immediate results in addition to long-term goals.

Less realistic are some of his promises:

Moussa says that during the first 100 days of his term, he will take action regarding corruption, unemployment and the economy that will result in significant improvement of Egyptians’ situation. Moussa says that by the end of his four-year term, the national income will be doubled and Egypt will achieve a 100 percent literacy rate, up from the current level, which is around 60 percent.

I doubt the country is going to get much better until you start having politicians who dare tell the truth to average Egyptians — that they now have to deal with 60 years of accumulated misrule — and a public that is open to hearing that.