An Egyptian Middle Road?

Four of the largest secular parties have begun exploring the idea of a coalition which might constitute a third force in Egyptian politics. At present, the ruling National Democratic Party of President Mubarak represents corruption and inefficiency while at the other end of the continuum is the Muslim Brotherhood which recently shocked many people by announcing their desire for an Iranian style government dominated by clerics. Mubarak is growing old and there are rumors he is grooming his son to take over once he either dies or leaves office. His government has failed to develop a vibrant economy and is riddled with corruption. Thousands of young Egyptians migrate elsewhere in search of jobs that match their education or talents. Osama El Ghazeli Harb, an editor of al-Ahram, posed: “I think the coalition should attempt to answer the question: what should Egypt look like after Mubarak?”

George Bush has emphasized his anger at the clerical dominated Iranian government, but less attention has been focused on the corrupt and increasingly anti-democratic government of Mubarak. One result of the corruption is continued growth of a fanatical Muslim Brotherhood which has abandoned earlier statements about their desire for a non-clerical controlled government. It is now clear they desire a clerical group which will oversee legislation as is done in Iran. Egypt desperately needs a third force of secular democrats who can offer people an alternative between extremes.