Egypt in a mixture of excitement and anxiety
Within a week after the first competitive presidential elections in Egypt the mood is a mixture of excitement and anxiety.
For the first time in the living memories of Egyptians today, this marks an unprecedented event. The sheer fact that the result is not a given, is a far cry from what all have been used to: predetermined elections. New feelings and new thoughts bring another kind of fear; that of the unknown. The level of energy and buzz is a reminder of a vibrant and deeply shaking previous year. Whatever the results, all Egyptians share the brunt of either fighting for what they want or against what they don’t want.
The third in a series of election processes aims to add to the political governance institutions for the New Egypt, or as some have referred to it, the second republic. It is expected that the outcome will not be decisive. Repeats are scheduled for June 17. Nevertheless, for the first time more Egyptians will come out to vote than has been the case throughout this new process. The polling stations are already secured by the army and all candidates are to observe silence as of Monday. Meanwhile, the media continues to push its conventional boundaries by hosting more candidates and challenging them and their programs. To add to the first presidential debate already aired, one private channel advertises the first psychological testing of the major candidates whom have agreed to take the test.
The weekend will surely see a rise of advertising as Egyptians head to the polls. Results pouring in from Egyptians living abroad are also expected to affect some decisions much like the daily changing polls.
The million dollar question this week is ‘who are you going to vote for?’ Deciding on whom to choose as their first president after the revolution that ousted the 30-year-old rule of Mubarak is a novel challenge for many Egyptians. The answer is varied according to the latest daily polls and the majority is still undecided. The most apparent divide among the top 6 of the 13 candidates is secularist versus religious. There would be three of each to make your choice.
The question becomes much more complex when perceived through old guard versus new revolutionary. Some of both sides belonged to the old regime even if in its opposition. The real question is who the military will support to secure its future relationship with the political regime and maintain the privileges it has accumulated over 60 years of rule. It is almost back to square one seen from the engrained perspective of the ousted regime. The choice was either us or the religious militant groups. Although some perceptions have changed during the traumatic 15 months, this continues to be a serious learning experience for many.
Regardless of the results, whoever takes the helm will be in a very difficult and consuming situation. Without a constitution the president elect will rule under the military council constitutional announcement of the transition until such time where there is a constitution put into place. Attempts to create an objective all encompassing committee of 100 Egyptians to propose it had previously failed. Additional constitutional announcements from the military are expected Monday. The transition continues.