A few hours prior to his departure from office, Egypt’s interim president Judge Adli Mansour insisted on issuing the Council of Representatives legislation despite the anger of most political forces at the text of the bill. They regard it as flawed and unconstitutional, requiring time and patience before being issued.
Despite a consensus among analysts that the bill weakens political parties and marginalises the role of the people in political oversight, Mansour went ahead; clearly, he had a bout of legislative diarrhoea in the final hours before his most welcome departure. Mansour was no more than a puppet; his presence wasn’t felt unless he issued a new decree that brought Egypt closer to tyranny and dictatorship. For instance, the ominous Protests Law was followed by the imprisonment of thousands of Egyptian youth, and he issued another law on the protection of the state’s contracts with criminal investors frightened of justice. The Council of Representatives legislation passed by Mansour was no more than an implementation of the directives he received. He had no other choice. It was an attempt to link this political filth to someone other than Al-Sisi, so that the latter is not held responsible for such manipulation.
In parallel with the issuance of the decree, the former head of the general intelligence apparatus, General Mourad Muwafi, and former minister of the interior General Ahmad Gamal al-Din announced the formation of a broad political alliance to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections, “to guarantee the presence of a large bloc that supports the president”. In other words, the upcoming parliament will be formed by the security agencies, the intelligence and the police, and will be sponsored by them. The architect of this process and its theatrical director will be Amr Moussa, Al-Sisi’s advisor and one of his top unofficial aides. Moussa will be assisted by the former foreign minister, Mohamed al-Orabi. Worth mentioning here is that the foreign ministry and its offices inside and outside the country are serving as the security arm of the state. Thus, Moussa and Orabi are part of the arrangements put in place by the intelligence man Mowafi and the policeman Gamal al-Din.
Al-Orabi has revealed that Moussa is currently reaching out to a number of parties to convince them to join the alliance to contest the upcoming parliamentary elections so that they can form a legislative umbrella for the policies of President Al-Sisi. The “intelligence alliance” announced that it has managed to include small groups such as the Congress Party (founded by Moussa), Free Egyptians (funded by Mubarak-era businessman Nauib Sawiris) and a branch of the Tamarod movement led by Mahmoud Badr. Most likely the alliance will also include the leftist Al-Tagamoa Party, the Arab Nasserist Party, and other insignificant factions, particularly those that existed under Mubarak.
Mowafi and his new organisation are fully aware that these parties are marginal, have no popular base and are not capable of genuine competition in any elections. However, he needs them as a cover for the real figures that will shape his alliance, most of which are remnants of the Mubarak regime and some families linked with it. The new alliance is a modified version of Mubarak’s National Democratic Party; it is the Al-Sisi party, although it will not be announced as such at this stage, so as not to hold Al-Sisi responsible for any political or moral issues associated with the new group, and to wait for the stabilisation of the political arena and give the state a chance to reorganise itself.
The intelligence party will not be led by typical Mubarak figures, many of whom are imprisoned. Nevertheless, although it will not be portrayed initially as a party, it is based on the same tools, plans and ideas of the NDP.
Mansour’s law is part of this intelligence system and has been designed to serve it. It has increased the number of individual seats in the parliament so as to prevent the rise of any major political parties or coalitions that would have an ability to object to its plans. It aims to form a parliament of individuals, mostly wealthy and able to spend millions on elections. Each of them has personal interests which the state can fulfil.
However, what those security-minded people fail to realise is that parliaments were invented as a means to channel the concerns of the people through a sensible legislative framework that brings about stability for the state and protects the interests of the nation through peaceful popular oversight. When they try to turn the parliament into a backyard for the presidency, and cancel its natural role as a representative institution that prevents the tyranny of the state, they open the doors for new generations to continue their struggle in the streets and squares in a way that will destabilise any political system and complicate any efforts at reform. Their plans will take the country into a state of perpetual revolution and chaos.
Translated from Al-Mesryoon newspaper 6 June 2014
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.