Less than 60 days for the end of 60 years of military rule in Egypt.
For the first time in the modern history of Egypt, no one can assert who will win the elections for President.
Speculation is rampant. The unsmooth process, although at times bloody and painful to most ordinary citizens, has provided many with food for thought. The past few days again bear witness to the questionable and dubious roles played on the political center stage. Although at one of its critical intervals, the process of change ignited by the Egyptian revolution is far from over.
The process had conjured up many more negative feelings and thoughts than at many previous intervals. Interestingly with less than 20 days until the first ever presidential elections scheduled to take place on May 23 and 24, with a second round on June 17, it is unclear where the votes will go. Egyptians are being quickly introduced to televised debates and public polls. The candidates are also pressured to quickly get their act together and learn to appeal to their public. Close to 50 percent of the electorate are still undecided.
Unfortunately, the lead up to the elections does not promise to be painless. The last two weeks have been full of subtle yet increasingly disturbing events. Least of all are the number of devastating fires that have erupted all over the country. They have not led to many casualties, but they have certainly contributed to the growing sense of instability and suspicion.
More indicative, was the questionable rallying of a few hundred misled followers of the disqualified Salafi candidate Abu Ismail that eventually turned into another sit-in in front of the Ministry of Defense, again raising the level of street tension. As the protests attracted more demonstrators against Military rule, not surprisingly, it also attracted yet another bloody episode to add to those of last year. While they had little more than rocks, the protestors were attacked by gunfire and some automatic weapons. The renewed instance of death and injury has heightened the frustration and anger of those on the streets amidst calls for yet another demonstration on Friday, back at Tahrir Square.
Meanwhile, the struggle seems to be framed as being between the supporters of political Islam vs. the military. The military publically insists it is not taking any sides and is going to end the transition period as agreed. The ruling military council, in an exasperated attempt to reassure everyone that they will keep their promise to secure the elections and hand over power - amidst mounting pressure and violence at their doorstep - has even suggested making the handover before the end of May, if there is no need for a rerun and one of the thirteen presidential candidates gets a majority.