Egypt’s interim president sets timetable for elections in early 2014

posted at 8:01 am on July 9, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Under pressure from at home and perhaps especially abroad, the new interim government in Egypt announced a timetable for new elections, which will take place after replacing the current constitution that the Muslim Brotherhood pushed through after winning office in the last elections a year ago. The sequence envisions elections by February, after a four-month process of either replacing or significantly amending the constitution and holding a referendum for approval:

Egypt’s interim leadership laid out a fast-track timetable to elect a new president and parliament by early next year, in a move that could ease Western concerns about the future of democracy in the Arab nation but is almost certain to deepen the anger of ousted President Mohammed Morsi’s supporters.

Under the plan put forward by the interim president late Monday, two panels would be appointed to make amendments to the Islamist-backed constitution passed under Morsi’s government. Those changes would be put to a referendum within about 4½ months. Parliamentary elections would be held within two months after that, and once the new parliament convenes it would have a week to set a date for a presidential election.

The swift issuing of the plan reflected a drive on the part of Egypt’s military-backed interim leadership to push ahead with a post-Morsi political plan despite Islamist rejection — and is certain to further outrage the ousted president’s Muslim Brotherhood. The Islamist group contends that Morsi was removed by a coup and that everything that follows is illegal.

The “constitutional declaration” announced by interim President Adly Mansour late on Monday coincided with the nation’s deadliest day since Morsi’s July 3 ouster, with more than 50 of his supporters killed by security forces as the country’s top Muslim cleric raised the specter of civil war.

There had been some questioning whether American aid to the Egyptian military provided any real leverage, since it was unlikely to be cut off in this instance.  The White House has been dancing around the definition of a “coup” in order to keep the aid from being cut off under US statute, and so far calls to cut off aid have been a minority in American politics.  That’s in part because the aid wasn’t intended to incentivize Egyptian democratization — it started under Anwar Sadat and was maintained all through the Hosni Mubarak regime — but to keep the peace between Israel and Egypt.

Still, it’s a billion-dollars-plus for Egypt, which desperately needs cash, so they can’t discount the possibility of being cut off from it.  More importantly, though, the military wants to head off a civil war, which may still result after a deadly clash this weekend.  Both sides bitterly claim victimization in the clash at the Republican Guard headquarters after more than 50 people died in the gunfire, but the claims themselves may be secondary to the victimization by now:

The longer this percolates under a military-imposed government, the more momentum will accrue to the Muslim Brotherhood and its followers.  The interim government has to know this, which is why they’re anxious to show progress as soon as possible.  Having a constitutional referendum in four months is about ambitious a timetable one can imagine under these circumstances.

The timetable doesn’t give the Muslim Brotherhood and its political allies much time to choose whether to participate in electoral politics or sit out and hope that their absence will impact the validity of the results.  They should know, however, that this trick rarely works; usually the sitters end up isolated and delegitimized as everyone else moves on from the past.  If the military can keep a lid on further outbreaks of violence, the Muslim Brotherhood will have little choice but to participate — which means it will be in their interests to see violence flare up and derail the elections.  That’s why the issue of who started the shooting this time will be secondary to whether it starts up again, and who starts the violence in the future.

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Oh goody..
Another election…

Electrongod on July 9, 2013 at 8:02 AM

Still, it’s a billion-dollars-plus for Egypt, which desperately needs cash,…..

We’re good for it.

Wink, wink..

Electrongod on July 9, 2013 at 8:05 AM

No matter how many elections, Islamists & democracy are doomed to fail…

albill on July 9, 2013 at 8:08 AM

Arab Spring Reset.

hillsoftx on July 9, 2013 at 8:08 AM

The terrorist brotherhood’s last candidate worked pretty hard at making himself a dictator. The people of Egypt will have to fight it out.

dogsoldier on July 9, 2013 at 8:25 AM

…JugEars will send his campaign people?

KOOLAID2 on July 9, 2013 at 8:30 AM

The beatings elections will continue until morale improves…


bofh on July 9, 2013 at 8:35 AM

…JugEars will send his campaign people?

KOOLAID2 on July 9, 2013 at 8:30 AM

Hells yeah! Show those MoFoBros pikers how the big boys steal an election AND make it stick.

bofh on July 9, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Doesn’t Spring happen once a year anyway……so….

PappyD61 on July 9, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Who started it?

My guess it is those who are claiming children were shot by the guard. Why do we even bother with a people who think it is okay to bring children to attack an armed military? The same people who think it is okay to throw those who don’t subscribe to their choice of president off of roof tops.

LoganSix on July 9, 2013 at 8:58 AM

It is obvious that George Zimmerman started the firefight.

myiq2xu on July 9, 2013 at 9:07 AM

There seems to be some very curious empathy for the Muslim Brotherhood. Not only is that misplaced, but it is indicative of a hesitancy and naivete that comes with not recognizing the real fundamentals of democracy. It lacks a frightening perspective of history and a simple conclusion that freedom is often messy and confusing.

The Muslim Brotherhood “won” an an election under very questionable circumstances. They, under the figurehead of Morsi, changed the constitution to include Islamic fundamentalist sections by removing people and democratic process which stood in their way.

This was not done behind closed doors, but in the open and neither President Obama nor his supporters said a word. Yet now the profess shock and urge caution when the masses and I dare say, a majority of the citizens who have been oppressed are marginalized and strike back through peaceful revolt? The only surprising part is the administrations naive misunderstanding of how democratic process works.

Extremists and other saboteurs of democracy believe the way to corrupt and change a country in a way that is favorable to their whims is by despicably obtaining office and using that process against its people for their parochial ends. But that falls apart when the majority of people organize and strike back against oppression led by despots who believe themselves modern day kings or dictators. In truth, they are nothing of the sort. They are simply little bereft of real accomplishment whose only merits are a gift for beguiling people and the ability to corrupt democratic process for their own means. It may take time, but as history aptly shows us these despots always meet their end when a test of wills with the majority ensues. This is simply the latest example.

Marcus Traianus on July 9, 2013 at 9:31 AM

Identify who the “white” Egyptians are and you will know who fired first.

[email protected] on July 9, 2013 at 10:08 AM

New Constitution: “If any attempts are made to change the constitution after its approval, the Egyptian Army will take over again.”

slickwillie2001 on July 9, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Those Egyptians seem as or more gullible than the idiots that voted for Hope & Change.

trs on July 9, 2013 at 11:58 AM