Thursday, April 03, 2008

April issue of Arab Reform Bulletin

The new April issue of the Arab Reform Bulletin is out. It contains an article by Khalil al Anani on the upcoming Local Elections in Egypt, set for April 8th. The article is a well worth read and is called - Egypt: Local Elections…the End of the Democratic Spring.

I have only one argument with the article, and that is it´s title, the Democratic spring has been over for quite a while. For me it ended on the day of the referendum to open up for multi-candidate Presidential elections. When NDP payed thugs attacked women on the stairs of the Journalists union.. For both the NDP and the Americans everything´s was over by February 06 when first the Muslim Brotherhood made such a strong showing in the Parliamentary elections, even though the interior ministry used all resources possible after the first part of the elections. When Hamas won the elections in Palestine, the game was over, and now we are back to Authocratic winter, with the latest chapter being the prelude to the local elections on Tuesday 8th. Last Tuesday´s demonstrations by the brotherhood in Tanta , Zagazig, Damanhour and Alexandria is just another page. What is sad, is to see that so little co-ordinating is made by the opposition. But luckily the boycott´s that seemed to be an integral part of almost every Egyptian election cycle seems to be a thing of the past. Examples from around the world has been positive. The latest examples of the power an electorate can have is of course Kenya and Zimbabwe, but that means that people will have to be much more active politically and register and cast their vote. How to break the political and electoral apathy is a question that is still far away from being answered.

The other topics in this issue:

Women’s Political Participation in the Gulf: A Conversation with Activists Fatin Bundagji (Saudi Arabia), Rola Dashti (Kuwait), and Munira Fakhro (Bahrain)

United States: The Bush Administration’s Budget and Democracy in the Arab World
Stephen McInerney

Europe/Arab States: Whither Sarkozy’s Mediterranean Union?
George Joffé

Morocco: Is the Electoral System Unfair?
Michael Meyer-Resende

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