The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Posts tagged parties
Just make it look good!

Just make it look good!

Sandmonkey writes:

On beautiful Monday mornings like this one, as I wake up in my bed, happy, well rested, thinking  about what I will do today, a single simple thought comes into my mind, filling me with sense of impending doom and horror that grips me and ruins my day: We are going to have elections. Again. Very soon. 

Kill me now.  

I know how he feels — and professionally I cover elections! Read the rest for a critique of the secular parties' lack of a real product to sell in the upcoming elections. I have no time to expand now, but my thought for a while is that they need to be aggressive — not just in electioneering, but in the vision thing. People respect those who stand for something, and many secularists are so scared of Islamists they hesitate to wear their secularism on their sleeves. I say: go on the offensive, be clear about what you stand for (and that it's not anti-religion), and attack relentlessly your political enemies on their weaknesses, notably their religious hypocrisy. Elections are ultimately about resources: how much money and how many people you have to recruit to your side. But also having a big idea helps — not with the wider electorate perhaps, but to energize your base. This is why Islamists perform well: they have an energized base. In Egypt, secularists seem to have only a demoralized base. 

Chart: Who stands where in Egypt, v2

Click to enlargeI've updated my chart from a few days ago to reflect the narrowing of possible positions (from 5 to 3) and the leftward drift of most parties and personalities. At this point, of the major parties only the Muslim Brothers and al-Wafd are not officially backing the protests as far as I can tell. As always, comments, corrections and feedback appreciated. This chart does not show positions on elections — again, for now no party has called for their cancellation (although some revolutionary groups and Mohamed ElBaradei are suggesting an alternative transition plan) and the idea of postponment has only been floated.  

Chart: Who stands where in Egypt

Click to enlargeAbove is a very, very approximate reading of various political actors position on the current crisis. It is based on the following assumptions:

  • The question of postponing elections is not particularly important to any actor — some are intent on holding them now, but very few have urged postponing them. We can either assume it's not a priority issue (apart from those who insist they take place) or people want them to go ahead.
  • SCAF has conceded on transition to civilian rule by next July and the formation of a new government. The real difference is (1) between those who insist on a firm date for the transition and (2) those who want a NUG now, want a NUG after election or want a not just a new government, but the transfer of SCAF's powers to this government. 

I am putting this up hoping for corrections, feedback, fine-tuning, etc. Let me know in the comments. Of course this chart is impressionistic and I am aware of divergences within the Egyptian Bloc, etc.

For reference on who's who, take a look at our chart of players in the elections (I've only included major coalitions and parties) and this list of Egyptian presidential candidates.