エジプト情勢 公正な選挙が民主化の試金石

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 30, 2011)
Fair elections crucial to Egypt’s democratization
エジプト情勢 公正な選挙が民主化の試金石(11月29日付・読売社説)

The election to choose Egypt’s lower house (People’s Assembly) members, the first national poll since the collapse of Hosni Mubarak’s administration this year, has started.

The election will be held over three phases that end in January and cover different regions.

It will be followed by an upper house poll and a presidential election.

Steadily holding the staggered series of elections will be indispensable for transferring power from transitional military rule to a civilian government.

Whether Egypt, a major power in the Middle East and North Africa, follows a path of democracy will affect the entire region.

Social chaos has cast a shadow over the lower house election.

Since the start of November, demonstrations and rallies calling for the immediate end to military rule have been held in Egypt.

More than 40 people were killed in clashes with security forces.

Behind the unrest is the fact that the military made various demands regarding a new constitution that will be drafted after the formation of a new lower house.

The military demanded, among other things, that parliamentary approval should not be needed for military budgets.

This was the case under the Mubarak administration, and the demand inflamed feelings of anger among the people.


Aversion to military rule

After deciding it could no longer ignore the people’s will, the military was forced to promise a presidential election would be held by next June.

Young Egyptians and other critics of the military indicated they would reject holding the elections under military rule.

The military government needs to hold fair elections so it can obtain the people’s support and pave the way for reform toward democratization.

Egypt’s stock prices and revenue from tourism plunged as the political and social turmoil rumbled on, seriously hurting the national economy.

A stable government urgently needs to be established after the elections.

The Freedom and Justice Party founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic fundamentalist organization, is widely forecast to win many lower house seats.

Various secular parties are tipped to trail behind.

The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed during the Mubarak administration but won the support of many people by promoting charitable and medical care activities.

Greater freedoms introduced after the Mubarak administration fell made it possible for the organization to establish a political party.


A gamut of challenges

If the Freedom and Justice Party is chosen to lead the government, how will Islamism be reflected in politics?

Will such an administration be able to reconcile with the military, which was hostile to Muslim elements under Mubarak’s rule?

A host of challenges lie ahead for Egypt.

Several autocratic governments have been overthrown in democratic uprisings in Arab countries this year in a movement often referred to as the “Arab Spring,” and these countries are taking steps toward democracy.

In Libya, where dictator Moammar Gaddafi was recently ousted, moves are afoot to hold a parliamentary election to establish a constitution.

The only alternative after ousting an autocratic ruler is to promote democratization through elections, no matter how difficult it may be.

Can democracy take root in the Middle East?

Egypt’s lower house election will be a touchstone for achieving that goal.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 29, 2011)
(2011年11月29日01時16分 読売新聞)

srachai について

early retired civil engineer migrated from Tokyo to Thailand
カテゴリー: 英字新聞 パーマリンク



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