Monday, May 30, 2005

Referendum on Article 76

The "historical" speech on the 26th of February 2005, opening up the window of opportunity for direct multicandidate Presidential elections and the now infamous referendum on the amendment of article 76 in the constitution represents the high and low of the double election year 2005 so far. while constitutional change is one of the prerequisites for political change towards a more democratic Egypt. The amendment of article 76 has proven to be the opposite. In a state of the art Mubarakesque show, the amendment has been superbly written, full of democratic rhetoric and emptied of democratic context. An excellent piece of craft written by the most brilliant legal minds , the NDP has to offer. Once again filling the gaps of the unknown potential of democracy with as many caveats as possible. Making the potential favourite past time of the Egyptian political opposition and inteligentsia of scanning for presidential wannabies, a game of looking for a needle in a haystack.

The outcome of the referendum was a foregone conclusion in terms of numbers and is only interesting in the context of other referundums in the past and probably in the future, to gauge the political apathy of the Egyptian people, and the casual way of the Mubarak government in dealing with such a highly important question.

The significance of the day of the referendum on the 25th of May is yet to be decided. The way the regime opted to crush down on two small demonstrations is not. The projected image of Egypt as a country on the way towards democratization was dealt a blow in international political circles last wednesday. For the Egyptian People, the reality of Egypt´s stalled society and the democratic facade has been there for to long - kifayya

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