Make No Mistake – Egyptians Want Democracy

As an Egyptian American living in Egypt it has been a life changing opportunity to participate on the streets of Cairo with my fellow Egyptians as we stand together peacefully demonstrating for justice, peace and democracy. As an American I feel it is my duty to shed some light on the current situation in Egypt. Let it be clear that the uprising of the Egyptian people on the 30th of June 2013 is real democracy at work. We are fighting for a government by and for the people.

More than 33 Million Egyptians took to the streets that day in peaceful demonstrations against the performance and failure of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in tackling the serious problems facing Egypt; including the economy, security and social services, together with the misuse of power.
This was not a coup d’etat, but an exhibition of true democracy the likes of which the world has never seen before. This was the largest people’s movement in the history of the world.  A few days before the 30th of June, the majority of the Egyptian people exercised direct democracy by appealing to the army to stand behind the will of the people and to intercede to correct the wrongful political process and restore the principles of the 25th of January 2011 revolution. Hence, the intervention of the Armed Forces was a response to the will of the Egyptian people and a realization that the national security of Egypt was threatened.
The future plan laid out by the Egyptian people and declared by the Armed Forces was mapped out in coordination with all political and religious forces and most importantly the youth whom had, once again, launched the uprising of 30th June. The future plan essentially fulfills the original demands and hopes of 25th of January 2011. Most importantly, an interim civilian government capable setting up a democratic political process and dealing with pressing domestic issues was appointed.

On the 8th of July 2013, a constitutional declaration set a time frame of 7-9 months for the following steps:
    1.    Drafting a constitution which will be implemented after a popular referendum.
    2.    Preparing for a parliamentarian elections wherein all political parties  will participate on an even playing field.
    3.    Followed by preparations for a presidential election wherein all political parties will participate on an even playing field.

It is the hope and will of the Egyptian people to institute a democratic political process and system based on established institutions which will include all political parties and factions. It is important to state that the Muslim Brotherhood must also be included and that it must, with all parties, be committed to non-violence.

Egypt can become more democratic than many existing “democracies.”

Egypt has the unprecedented opportunity of crafting the best possible Constitution that will incorporate lessons learned throughout the world. A well crafted Constitution will serve Egypt well for generations and centuries to come. The next president of Egypt can only serve for a maximum of eight years. It must include what we Americans wish we could have in our Constitution; a detailed political process that assures that all candidates are given equal and fair opportunity.  Several countries throughout the world have incorporated democratic processes that assure greater equality amongst candidates.  

Personally, I think that a 7-9 month time frame is far too short and will rush the process. This process must not be rushed. It must be done well and correctly. Many countries which have had successful transitions from autocratic rule to democratic rule – have taken 2 to 3 years to set up the political process and write their Constitution before any elections took place. Egypt must take the time needed to do it correctly, there is no rush. It is far more important to get it right.

A new Egyptian Constitution must be detailed and must stipulate all details of the political electoral process and much more, beginning with:

    •    The presidential campaign season must be limited to only three months and tightly regulated by a National Election Commission.
    •    No fundraising, advertising, mailings, debates or promotional activities can take place outside this three-month time frame. This will be tightly regulated by the Election Commission.
    •    Candidates cannot receive funds or donations from any corporation, special interest group, external government or organization, nor citizen. This will be tightly regulated by the Election Commission.
    •    Each candidate and party will be limited to a set amount of money paid for by the government and determined by the Election Commission for expenditures during a campaign season. This amount will be the same for each candidate running for the same elected position. This will be tightly regulated.
    •    Each official candidate will have a specified number of free hours of media time (paid for by the government and determined by the Election Commission) to campaign and explain her/his policies, platform and promises. The number of free hours of media time will be the same for each candidate and no candidate can buy additional hours. This will be tightly regulated.
    •    Egypt should choose an electoral process that is as democratic as possible. A simple majority win is not always the most democratic. For example, a Rank Order Electoral Process results in a consensus vote and a winner that is the most acceptable to the greatest number of people. This and other electoral processes should be considered by Egypt.

Egyptians have shown the world that they want democracy. This is Egypt’s unprecedented opportunity to usher in a new Constitution and electoral process that will assure greater democracy than most countries in the world. This window of opportunity must not be lost to power grabbing opportunists in Egypt who wish to push through a quick election in order to control the process and hang on to power. This process must not be rushed. It must be done well and correctly.  

Now is the time for all Egyptians to demand that a new Constitution and electoral process be ushered in before parliamentary and presidential elections take place. There is nothing more important. The future of Egypt hinges on this. Rushing into elections in 2011 without a Constitution and a democratic electoral process undermined the revolution. We must learn from this disastrous mistake and not repeat it.

On 30 June, the Egyptian people called for a new chance to get it right. Thanks to God we have been given this chance once again. Let’s get it right this time.

Shout it from your TV sets, your radios, villages and hamlets, spread leaflets and shout it from your rooftops. With the leadership of this interim civilian government and the in-put of all Egyptians we must take our time to develop a truly democratic political process and system that will stand the test of time, that will usher in a  democratic Constitution beyond reproach. We must institute a fair and egalitarian electoral process. Now is the time to build a democratic Egypt for centuries to come.

# # #

Nile El Wardani, Ph.D. is an Egyptian American peace activist, political analyst, radio host and writer. She teaches at the American University in Cairo in the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

 
Make No Mistake – Egyptians Want Democracy
by Nile El Wardani

As an Egyptian American living in Egypt it has been a life changing opportunity to participate on the streets of Cairo with my fellow Egyptians as we stand together peacefully demonstrating for justice, peace and democracy. As an American I feel it is my duty to shed some light on the current situation in Egypt. Let it be clear that the uprising of the Egyptian people on the 30th of June 2013 is real democracy at work. We are fighting for a government by and for the people.
More than 33 Million Egyptians took to the streets that day in peaceful demonstrations against the performance and failure of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in tackling the serious problems facing Egypt; including the economy, security and social services, together with the misuse of power.
This was not a coup d’etat, but an exhibition of true democracy the likes of which the world has never seen before. This was the largest people’s movement in the history of the world.  A few days before the 30th of June, the majority of the Egyptian people exercised direct democracy by appealing to the army to stand behind the will of the people and to intercede to correct the wrongful political process and restore the principles of the 25th of January 2011 revolution. Hence, the intervention of the Armed Forces was a response to the will of the Egyptian people and a realization that the national security of Egypt was threatened.
The future plan laid out by the Egyptian people and declared by the Armed Forces was mapped out in coordination with all political and religious forces and most importantly the youth whom had, once again, launched the uprising of 30th June. The future plan essentially fulfills the original demands and hopes of 25th of January 2011. Most importantly, an interim civilian government capable setting up a democratic political process and dealing with pressing domestic issues was appointed.
On the 8th of July 2013, a constitutional declaration set a time frame of 7-9 months for the following steps:
    1.    Drafting a constitution which will be implemented after a popular referendum.
    2.    Preparing for a parliamentarian elections wherein all political parties  will participate on an even playing field.
    3.    Followed by preparations for a presidential election wherein all political parties will participate on an even playing field.

It is the hope and will of the Egyptian people to institute a democratic political process and system based on established institutions which will include all political parties and factions. It is important to state that the Muslim Brotherhood must also be included and that it must, with all parties, be committed to non-violence.

Egypt can become more democratic than many existing “democracies.”

Egypt has the unprecedented opportunity of crafting the best possible Constitution that will incorporate lessons learned throughout the world. A well crafted Constitution will serve Egypt well for generations and centuries to come. The next president of Egypt can only serve for a maximum of eight years. It must include what we Americans wish we could have in our Constitution; a detailed political process that assures that all candidates are given equal and fair opportunity.  Several countries throughout the world have incorporated democratic processes that assure greater equality amongst candidates.  

Personally, I think that a 7-9 month time frame is far too short and will rush the process. This process must not be rushed. It must be done well and correctly. Many countries which have had successful transitions from autocratic rule to democratic rule – have taken 2 to 3 years to set up the political process and write their Constitution before any elections took place. Egypt must take the time needed to do it correctly, there is no rush. It is far more important to get it right.
A new Egyptian Constitution must be detailed and must stipulate all details of the political electoral process and much more, beginning with:

    •    The presidential campaign season must be limited to only three months and tightly regulated by a National Election Commission.
    •    No fundraising, advertising, mailings, debates or promotional activities can take place outside this three-month time frame. This will be tightly regulated by the Election Commission.
    •    Candidates cannot receive funds or donations from any corporation, special interest group, external government or organization, nor citizen. This will be tightly regulated by the Election Commission.
    •    Each candidate and party will be limited to a set amount of money paid for by the government and determined by the Election Commission for expenditures during a campaign season. This amount will be the same for each candidate running for the same elected position. This will be tightly regulated.
    •    Each official candidate will have a specified number of free hours of media time (paid for by the government and determined by the Election Commission) to campaign and explain her/his policies, platform and promises. The number of free hours of media time will be the same for each candidate and no candidate can buy additional hours. This will be tightly regulated.
    •    Egypt should choose an electoral process that is as democratic as possible. A simple majority win is not always the most democratic. For example, a Rank Order Electoral Process results in a consensus vote and a winner that is the most acceptable to the greatest number of people. This and other electoral processes should be considered by Egypt.

Egyptians have shown the world that they want democracy. This is Egypt’s unprecedented opportunity to usher in a new Constitution and electoral process that will assure greater democracy than most countries in the world. This window of opportunity must not be lost to power grabbing opportunists in Egypt who wish to push through a quick election in order to control the process and hang on to power. This process must not be rushed. It must be done well and correctly.  

Now is the time for all Egyptians to demand that a new Constitution and electoral process be ushered in before parliamentary and presidential elections take place. There is nothing more important. The future of Egypt hinges on this. Rushing into elections in 2011 without a Constitution and a democratic electoral process undermined the revolution. We must learn from this disastrous mistake and not repeat it.

On 30 June, the Egyptian people called for a new chance to get it right. Thanks to God we have been given this chance once again. Let’s get it right this time.

Shout it from your TV sets, your radios, villages and hamlets, spread leaflets and shout it from your rooftops. With the leadership of this interim civilian government and the in-put of all Egyptians we must take our time to develop a truly democratic political process and system that will stand the test of time, that will usher in a  democratic Constitution beyond reproach. We must institute a fair and egalitarian electoral process. Now is the time to build a democratic Egypt for centuries to come.

# # #

Nile El Wardani, Ph.D. is an Egyptian American peace activist, political analyst, radio host and writer. She teaches at the American University in Cairo in the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

 

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One thought on “Make No Mistake – Egyptians Want Democracy

  1. Dearest Nile

    I hope Egypt has got many many Nile’s like you to help carry on as you are

    I hope you have found a good place to stay in LA I think of you a lot, praying that you get all your beautiful person deserves: the best of it all I admire tour staunch faith and pet distance you have got the fabric and expertise of a people’s representative in the parliament or better yet at the presidency why not?! You are so far the only NILE they got!

    Much love to you and Kostya

    Sent from my iPad

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