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Empire
Transcript: Egypt: A second republic?
Read the full transcript below.
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2012 14:50

This is the full transcript for the Empire episode Egypt: A second republic? (Thursday, July 12, 2012)

Narrator
Egypt has made history, as the first elected Islamist president takes office…Mohamed Morsi.
The former struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood and the generals has entered a new phase but what will Egypt look like under President Mohamed Morsi and an entrenched military? 

What’s to become of the revolution and the constitution and the promise of democratic change?

Marwan Bishara
I am Marwan Bishara and this is Empire.

Since the revolution began Egypt’s politics has been a bit like its traffic.... hectic, chaotic and pretty dysfunctional.

Narrator
As in traffic, Egyptians of all social and economic backgrounds are trying to find their way. Some turn right, some left, some go in circles but all want to move forward.

Marwan Bishara
After nerve-wracking delays and rumours the announcement of Morsi as president has led to much-needed relief, uneasy as it may be.  However, beyond the sudden surge hardly anything has improved since the removal of Hosni Mubarak and his cronies 18 months ago.

The mismanagement of the transitional period has diffused the early excitement, alienated the youth and deepened the national divide.

Worse, the revolution has been overshadowed by a power struggle between the two most organised and the least revolutionary forces in the country, The Muslim Brotherhood and the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, over how and by whom the country will be led.

Narrator
Outside the presidential palace hundreds of Egyptians are petitioning Mohamed Morsi.

Noha Mohammad Gamal’s husband was arrested by the military in May and was tried by a military, not civilian, court.

Translation for Noha Mohammad Gamal
I want justice, that’s all, nothing more.  I want these oppressed people to be freed from prison.  We want justice, that’s all.

Translation for Hoda Hassan Darwish
All I’m asking for now is that Dr Mohamed Morsi looks out for the young people who were oppressed in the time of Hosni Mubarak; those who were oppressed inside prison and for the mothers and sisters and daughters who have suffered.

Narrator
After 18 months of military rule these people now have someone in power who they hope will address their concerns.  The question is how much power does he really have?

While the revolution took place in the streets it’s now behind closed doors that the real power struggle is going on, one that is crucial to the shaping of a post-Mubarak Egypt.

After decades of persecution the Muslim Brotherhood has grown pragmatic. Although Morsi swept to power on the back of a popular uprising, the Brotherhood’s leaders see themselves as reformists, not revolutionaries.  But that hasn’t stopped their opponents, both military and political, from spreading fear of a Brotherhood hidden agenda.

Sameh Seif El-Yazal
The fear is an Islamic republic.  We’d like a civilian situation.  It’s not only me. There are many other Egyptians they fear from that.  We don’t like to see another Iran in the area.

Heba Morayef
I don’t think it’s so much a question of whether the president was Islamist or not but rather whether the president would be likely to challenge the military. Morsi is not only an unknown quantity ultimately, despite the fact that they’ve been meeting with him for the last year and a half, but also has the power of a real constituency behind him and that is a potential threat to the military.

Narrator
SCAF, the military council that has been running the country for the past 18 months, has taken a number of controversial measures to curtail the Islamist influence.  They have dissolved the Islamist-dominated parliament and taken over its functions, limited the president’s power and, most crucially, the generals have given themselves a de facto veto over the writing of a new constitution.

Heba Morayef
The military’s focus has always been on the constitution because that is their guarantor of long-term security in terms of protection of their economic interests, in terms of protection of their privileges, their immunities and their independent decision making over the fence issues because they don’t want to be subject to civilian oversight.

Narrator
And there’s concern among many that the Islamists will opt for a marriage of convenience with the generals that allows the military to continue to exercise certain powers in the foreseeable future.

Lina Attalah
Our experience with the Brotherhood since the revolution took off last year is that they would always go for the option of negotiating with those who are in power, namely the military council at this point, as opposed to trying to resist those are in power in order to defend the demands of the street.

Narrator
But that could also be a risky gamble leaving the Brotherhood with more enemies and less popular support.  

Sameh Seif El-Yazal
These veto issues for the constitution.  As soon as you have the referendum of constitution there is no more power in their hands.  As soon as you have a new Parliament there is no power in their hands.

Narrator
While that scenario remains a distant possibility for now, what is likely is that the generals will be able to retreat from the limelight, their power and influence largely intact.  

Heba Morayef
I think one of the most dangerous things about the military takeover and military rule over the last year and a half is that the causes of the uprising in January 2011 were never addressed.  Police abuse has continued. There has been no attempt to address the reason the labour movement was so crucial in leading to the uprising.

Narrator
And this new president faces a tough task. Not only must he fight a hundred battles on a hundred fronts against deeply entrenched structures, be it an antagonistic military, a hostile bureaucracy or many political enemies, but he must also meet the expectations of the Egyptian people to affect real change in their lives.
 
Heba Morayef
We’re likely to see a much more difficult situation economically and it’s something that will have to be one of his first priorities.  He’s spoken a lot about social justice but it will be a very serious challenge I think to his ability to continue as a president with legitimacy and with the support of 52 per cent of the population.

Marwan Bishara
To discuss all of this and more I am joined by a panel of intellectuals and politicians here in the heart of Cairo: Freedom and Justice Party MP, Abdul Mawgoud Dardery; author and journalist, Dr Sam Fawzy; founder and president of al-Wasat party, a centrist Islamist party, Abu al-’Ila Madi; and long-time activist and professor at the University of Cairo, Dr Leila Souief.

Welcome to Empire.  Let’s start with what’s happened this week. This was Egypt at its best.  First elected, democratically elected, president, first civilian president, first Islamist president.  It sounded for us and the rest of the world that this was historic times in Egypt.  Does it feel this way here?

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
Of course.  He’s served his time as I said ‘cause for many hundred years we haven’t any elected president so this is the first time, second… very long conflict between Islamists and regimes from the King period and the Nasser period, Sadat period, Mubarak and so on.  So now that’s President will be in the palace and be from Islamist.  So this really is really historical time.  

Marwan Bishara
He was just in prison and now he’s in the palace.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery 
Yeah, during the days of the revolution he was imprisoned by the ex-regime and, surprisingly, those who were in presidency are in prison now. Those who were in prison are in the presidency.

Leila Souief
I think these are absolutely historical times and I think normal Egyptians see them not just activists or revolutionaries or see them as that.  All you needed to do was see how people behaved… on Friday when he was to give his speech in Tahrir. Kids carrying flags, everyone’s going there to listen to this president.  It’s not just for a civilian president; it’s the first president where we can demonstrate in front of the palace without being beaten up (laughs).

Marwan Bishara
By the police?

Leila Souief
Well, you can get to the palace (laughs).  You can get to the palace.

Marwan Bishara
I don’t mean to pour cold water on this, but many suspect that a president, as democratically elected as he is, his authorities have been terribly limited by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.  

Sameh Fawzy
It could be, but we have to look at it from different perspectives. In our political cultures the president is very powerful. We are not looking for a tyrant but we are looking for an elected president who is democratically elected and responsible, transparent, accountable to the people but, at the end of the day, should be powerful.  He should decide, he should make a choice. This is part of our political culture.

The more the president can build the constituency among the peoples themselves and gain support, taking into account that he won only with 51 per cent of votes, the more he can build the constituency and make popular support, the more he can gain in the battle with the military. So it’s mutual.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
But this 51 per cent, this is the whole thing about democracy. In democracies you win, you become the president of the country.  To my surprise after he won the election, I am from Luxor, so we went to the streets after Isha prayer, and to our surprise we started the march with 200 people.  We ended with 27,000 people.

Leila Souief
And Luxor was the governorate where Morsi had won.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
So everyone really. I think someone made a good statement in this, he said “everyone really wanted to vote for Morsi but some made the mistake by voting for Shafiq.  As a conclusion but we shouldn’t…

Sameh Fawzy
I shouldn’t buy this argument.  I don’t contest democratic measures but I am speaking that we are experiencing polarising situation, Egyptians’ rights.  So the President himself have to be more accommodative, accommodate everybody, accommodate different groups, different political shards, different political cultures and I always accept the President was elected.

Marwan Bishara
Do you accept the fact that many now consider the intervention of the Supreme Council also as part of the exceptional checks and balances in this country? I mean Abdul Mawgoud you speak of a democracy, I mean it’s still too early now to speak of a democracy.

Sameh Fawzy
Some security centres.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
It is the beginning of democracy.  We have to look at it this way.  It is not the end of democracy.  It is not the US democracy, it’s an Egyptian democracy.  It has its own pluses and minuses but I think we’re moving in the right direction.

Marwan Bishara
Abu Al-’Ila, it seems to me that Egyptians express themselves but, at the end of the day, what we have now is the Supreme Council of the Military Forces and the Muslim Brotherhood in control of basically the facets of the states.  Do you see the parade that we just saw this week as something that hides tensions or as something that is highlighting a certain new trust between the Brotherhood and the military?

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
I look that after the results we have now stronger authority in the… president and decrease authority of SCAF.  From that day of results I think that SCAF decrease and the president increase.

Leila Souief
Actually, I would like to point out that you should look at this a bit differently.  The majority of Egyptians no longer recognise any legitimacy for SCAF to be in power. There is power just because, you know, they’ve got weapons, nothing else. Now the majority of Egyptians do not recognise their legitimacy and a good amount of Egyptians are willing to stand against this power, the naked power of the army, if it’s necessary. People are trying to avoid such a confrontation but, in the end, if it’s necessary they will do it.

Nobody wants another military regime.  Never again.  The differences are not about does anyone want the military regime or not.The differences are about what do we replace it with? Is it better to try and ease them out without too much bloodshed or do we have to go at them right away? Stuff like that. SCAF are…  

Marwan Bishara
You don’t think people see them as a balancing…

Leila Souief
No, no, no, no, no, they no.

Marwan Bishara
Power to the rise of The Muslim Brotherhood?

Leila Souief
People, even people who see them as the balancing part of the Muslim Brotherhood are the people who see both powers as being evil powers (laughs).

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
But [UNSURE OF WORD].  I think [UNSURE OF WORDS] not all people.  We have a part of elite think like this.

Leila Souief
Yeah, yeah but, excuse me, I want to stress this point.  The people who consider SCAF as a balancing power against the Muslim Brotherhood are the people who consider both powers to be bad for the country.  Nobody thinks SCAF is good for the country.

Sameh Fawzy
No but…

Leila Souief
Nobody thinks SCAF is good for the country.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
Not bad for the country but bad for their own interests and that is the problem we’re having.  I underline this statement you made.  No one in Egypt wants military rule again.  It’s over, it’s part of history.

Marwan Bishara
But do they want a Brotherhood rule?

Leila Souief
A lot of people don’t want a Brotherhood rule.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
I think by calling it Brotherhood rule we’re limiting the conversation.  It is not about Brotherhood anymore.

Marwan Bishara
But if the Brotherhood controls the Parliament along with the Salafists and the presidency and they change the constitution that’s control.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
No, they’re not controlling it.  That is the difference.  They’re being elected by the Egyptians and only Egyptians can kick them out. So calling it control that’s part of the secular propaganda, the so-called the small elite propaganda.  It does not control, I came…

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
No, I was elected by the people…

Leila Souief
I would claim that if the Parliament had not been dissolved…

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
Really?

Leila Souief
… Shafiq might have won this election.

Marwan Bishara

Why?  Because people want checks and balances.

Marwan Bishara
Why?  Because people want checks and balances.

Sameh Fawzy
It’s a multidimensional struggle. Let’s make it like that. The struggle has different facets. Number one is: it’s a civil military conflict, as you mentioned, that people don’t like or don’t accept anymore military rule in Egypt. But, at the same time, there are as a form of conflict in Egyptian society we can say it it’s civil - religious conflict. If you can call it.  If you can call it. Some people are speaking about civil state and religious state as a political science scholar I can renounce post.  We don’t have civil state as a concept or religious state as a concept in political sciences but this is another issue. But people still in Egypt fear, or they have their own fear, legitimate fears, about Islamists in general and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
No, I disagree.  That is not true.

Sameh Fawzy
Nobody in Egypt has fear?  Nobody in Egypt has fear?

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
I didn’t say nobody.

Sameh Fawzy
I can’t say that.  I can’t say that.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
No, what did you say?  You said ‘people’.  If people had fear they wouldn’t have elected me.  I represent The Muslim Brotherhood.  When I presented myself to the people I said this is what I have.I have an Islamic alternative.

Leila Souief
No, no, you are always elected.  I elected Morsi and [UNSURE OF WORD].

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
No, no, not elected, more being elected.  I ran for the Parliament.

Sameh Fawzy
Being elected because people trust you but, on the other side, I can’t say, it’s too difficult to say generally that people don’t have fear about a particular group in society.  If you don’t have fear, if they don’t have fear 48 per cent of the votes will not go the [UNSURE OF WORD].

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
Let us go to the numbers.  

Sameh Fawzy
It’s another issue.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
You know the game that was played.  You know the money that was paid to those people.  You know the promises but we didn’t promise anyone anything.

Sameh Fawzy
I’m not examining the fear itself but people still have legitimate fear.

Marwan Bishara
Go ahead Abdul, go on.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
Let me summarise where I find the problem. The problem is there is a small minority, either belongs to small interest groups or belong to the European Project, Europeanised Project. I call them Europeanised Egyptians. They don’t want the people to have a voice and it is the first time that people of Egypt now have a voice.The challenge for them is to recognise the voice of the people respected it and move forward.  If they keep resisting the voice of the people I think they’re gonna be marginalising themselves and the Egyptian people are going to move forward.  This is how I summarised.

Sameh Fawzy
No, I can’t accept that.

Marwan Bishara
How do you explain what Leila has just said earlier that since the parliamentary elections The Brotherhood has lost almost a million vote every month?

Leila Souief
Yeah, absolutely.

Marwan Bishara
That’s also the vote of the people.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
No, that is not…

Leila Souief
That’s true, that is true.  Morsi got... listen, listen....

Sameh Fawzy
Self criticism is quite important in this issue.  

Leila Souief
Even if you add Abul-Fotouh’s vote to Morsi’s vote in the first round, you still get about 40 per cent of the vote.  60 per cent of the vote voted for people who are completely non-Islamist, including Shafik who is a horror, who we thought would never get a vote, ok.  So…

Marwan Bishara
And that at a time of a revolution.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
If this assumption is true then Morsi would not be the President.

Leila Souief
No, because he was the president because… I voted for Morsi in the second round.

Marwan Bishara
Even though you don’t support for the Brotherhood?

Leila Souief
Of course.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
Many people did the same…

Leila Souief
Because there was no way I was going to see Shafik in the presidency.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
Yeah, so it is not about The Brotherhood but the Egyptian people voting for the new president.

Marwan Bishara
Can we also, go ahead, but let’s also try to move forward to try to understand where are they heading together now?  Are they heading towards confrontation or towards coordination, The Brotherhood and The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces?

Leila Souief
Are we talking about The Brotherhood or about Morsi as a president?

Marwan Bishara
That’s a good distinction.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
But can we change the conversation?  

Marwan Bishara
That’s a good distinction.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
‘Cause it is not about The Brotherhood. 

Marwan Bishara
It’s about?

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
It’s about the Egyptian people. 
The Egyptians did the revolution in a unique way.  It was a revolution but it was done peacefully.  I hope we can…, we need not really to polarise and I think President Morsi is not likely to polarise the relationship between the presidency and the military.  The military, the Egyptian military, is highly respected in Egyptian eyes.

Marwan Bishara
That certainly is true, Sameh.  I mean his speeches were pretty compromising.  He was…

Sameh Fawzy
He’s very accommodating in his speeches.  I understand this and… he has…

Marwan Bishara
And you trust that?

Sameh Fawzy
Yes, I trust that.  He has appeal at… grassroots level in Egypt but I don’t want to accept the general assumptions.  I don’t want to generalise that people don’t have fear from Islamists or Morsi can have a confrontation and he can win confrontation with the military.  We shouldn’t generalise any assumptions right now.

Marwan Bishara
Before we break, I just need to get your take on whether you accept, whether you… believe, President Morsi’s… promise of working towards a democratic constitutional, as he called it, civic state?

Sameh Fawzy
I understand and I respect his promises but…

Marwan Bishara
Abu Al-’Ila, you do too?

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
Yes, I believe in his promise.

Marwan Bishara
What does it mean to you when he says that?

Leila Souief
I believe that he means it when he says that.

Marwan Bishara
And?  What does he mean when he says that?

Leila Souief
But the thing is I’m not su…, I don’t think things happen because President’s promise them.  I think things happen on the ground by different forces working on the ground.

Marwan Bishara
You mean turning his conversation into action basically?

Leila Souief
Yes.

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
You know that…

Marwan Bishara
Could you hold your thought?  We’re gonna come back to this after we come back from a news break.  Hold on to your seats and we’ll be back after news break.

Narrator
And also coming up: What happened to their revolution? We speak to some of Egypt’s young people who were at the frontlines of the uprising and we sit down with the leading political figure and former presidential candidate, Dr. Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh.


PART TWO: 

Marwan Bishara

Welcome back to our discussion with Abdul Mawgoud, Leila, Sameh and Abu Al-’Ila.  A good number of the people we spoke to in the streets of Cairo pretty much felt squeezed out of the revolution, of their own revolution, those who, some of these youth who led the revolution.  Leila, a lot of women and a lot of young people feel completely alienated from this new power structure that’s emerging in the country.

Leila Souief
Yeah, that’s true.  

Leila Souief
It’s sufficient to look at the Parliament and see how few of them there are on the constitutional...

Marwan Bishara
Less than ten out of 500?

Leila Souief
Oh yeah, exactly, and the constitutional… committee, like six women out of 100.

Marwan Bishara
Six women out of 100 in the constitution committee, the one that’s gonna put together the Egyptian constitution?

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
Eight women.

Marwan Bishara
Eight women.

Leila Souief
No, no there are six.  There are eight cops and six women.  Never mind...

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
But you know both, we have a woman and the cops at the same time.

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
More than four women and the cops... They have two hats.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
Blame the revolution for this.

Leila Souief
No, you don’t blame the revolution, you blame the…

Marwan Bishara
No, they are blaming The Muslim Brotherhood for this.

Leila Souief
No, no.

Marwan Bishara
And the military.

Leila Souief
I don’t blame The Muslim Brotherhood and the mili… I blame the Egyptian, I blame every single, conservative Egyptian male.I blame the Egyptian males who are conservative.

Marwan Bishara
Three of whom are here on the panel.

Leila Souief
Yes because every single party…

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
I don’t agree.

Leila Souief
… not just The Muslim Brotherhood.  Very few parties put enough women on their electorate lists.

Marwan Bishara
Abu Al-’Ila, you yourself were a Brotherhood member, you had a party that has Islamist leanings.  Are you now reorganising in a new way because of the results of the presidential and the parliamentary elections?

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
Yes but I want to make a comment about this very important debate.  Really the most of revolution figures, young and others, not representatives of Parliament, not because the Muslims were hijacking the Parliament because situation’s the ground. The Muslim Brotherhood,  they have at least 30 years continuously of organises themselves and they have a lot of ability to… they... last time they attend in more than ten elections parliamentary as superiors. So they… we can imagine that the first election they will be the majority like this. Others need time to organise themselves, to have organisation and the fundraising money.  

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
Very important point.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
So we need to start and increasing.  We have.

Marwan Bishara
But they vowed, for example, not to run to presidency, but then they ran for the presidency.

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
So that’s very important development happen in a few months.  I think before the election of Presidency we need 15 to 20 years to develop thinking of Egyptian, how we can develop their thinking about the voting, not by pushing  by religious background or… assistance to have some things.

Leila Souief
This idea that the Muslim Brotherhood hijacked the revolutions, parliamentary elections after revolutions hardly ever bring revolutionaries into power.  I mean if you look at different…

Marwan Bishara
You mean the majority is conservative and ultra-conservative?  At best reformist?

Leila Souief
At best, they bring reformists normally. So your only big strong reformist party was the Muslim Brotherhood.  It was a natural choice for people to choose it.the Freedom and Justice Party… really performed quite poorly in Parliament and so they lost so many votes.I was one of the non-Islamist revolutionaries who were pushing for Parliament to take on more authority, to take on more power, to take on SCAF and to…

Marwan Bishara
But they didn’t.

Leila Souief
They didn’t.

Marwan Bishara
So the question…

Leila Souief
They decided that this was a trap and then when they finally wanted to take on SCAF they had already…

Marwan Bishara
It was too late.

Leila Souief
…alienated the revolutionaries.

Marwan Bishara
No, maybe the President will.

Leila Souief
Again?

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
With all due respect to what you said, as a member of the Parliament he really does not [UNSURE OF WORD].

Marwan Bishara
The Parliament or the former Parliament by the way?

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
I call it the Parliament because I was elected freely and fairly by the people of Egypt and I…

Marwan Bishara
So you’re not recognise it was dissolved?

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
Not at all because no one can dissolve it but the Egyptian people and that has to be respected by secularists before Islamists because if we don’t do it there…

Marwan Bishara
But you see the thing is that President Morsi he kept saying that he respects the rulings of the Supreme Court.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
But respecting it does not…

Marwan Bishara
The constitutional court.

Leila Souief
This is really a very young, this is something that we’ll have to deal with much far…, a long time from now. You should not have a court that can dissolve a Parliament. I don’t think you should have a court that can, I think we need to review, a court that is formed of professional judges. I mean the equivalent of the constitutional court in France is not formed of professional judges (laughs).

Sameh Fawzy
There is a big difference between accepting the court rulings right now and restructuring the whole judiciary or justice and execution.  There is a big difference between [UNSURE OF WORD].

Leila Souief
I agree.  I agree.  You have to…

Marwan Bishara
It seems to me in order for democracy or democratic revolution to really succeed, beyond this revolution of consciousness that we’ve seen in Egypt, apparently the country needs a judiciary revolution, it needs a cultural revolution, for the youth, the women and so on and so forth to be represented.  So in a sense there’s a long way to go.  Is there a third way, a fourth way now that is organising in order to help this process, nudge it forward?

Sameh Fawzy
Definitely. One of the consequences of the last presidential elections that people favor in Egypt a third way.Third ways is they don’t want to support the militaries, they don’t want to support Islamists in general or Muslim Brotherhood in particular. They would like to have their own way, a third way, but the third way we are speaking about is not socioeconomic third way, like what we said in Britain or other countries.  

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
We in the Freedom and Justice Party we would really prefer a strong third way.  We really need a strong democracy.  I think we make a big mistake if we don’t have a strong opposition and the third way does not have to work with Morsi.  It can work, I think it is better if it works in opposition to Morsi because opposition is important for any democracy.

Marwan Bishara
But don’t you think President Morsi’s gonna need all the help he can get now that he’s gonna be confronting the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces on every single issue?

Leila Souief
If he really confronts The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces…

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
He’s gonna get the support of everyone.

Leila Souief
… he’s going to get all the help he needs.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
Very true.

Leila Souief
But the question is will he confront them or will he again decide to accommodate them?

Sameh Fawzy
He will get the help from whom ? People in the streets will support him.

Leila Souief
Yes, oh yes.

Sameh Fawzy
And we don’t have the statistics.  We don’t have…

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
A big number of people fear relaxing about his speeches.  He’s increasing his support…

Marwan Bishara
Do you trust him more?

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
Yes, I… look, speak about trust you need the time but if you…

Marwan Bishara
Listen to him more?

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
… if you listen, a good speech that will be very admired and happy to listen and he have two or three days after he’s received his authority.  So we need to build the trust from him to the others by the time.We wait. We will, we should give him chance to make that we will be trust about his promises or not but we cannot start to reject his promises.

Marwan Bishara
But there’s a general feeling in the country that he is a transitional president, that he’s a one-term president.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
No, one thing about him he’s very unique and he’s talking to the people, to the poor people and that’s what he’s winning the hearts and minds of Egyptians.  For him, the first ever President opens the palaces of the presidency of the people to come and visit.

Marwan Bishara
By the way, winning hearts and minds that sounds not very Egyptians.

Leila Souief
Very American, yeah.
Let me just point out something.  Poor people have learned that talk is talk and poor people class us all, Muslim Brotherhood, etc, blah, blah, blah, we are all political talking classes. They wait until they see things on the ground. They haven’t seen anything on the ground as yet.  They like the fact that he behaves like a normal Egyptian.

Marwan Bishara
It seems to me that he’s been saying more about salaries of bureaucrats and of teachers than he is about the nature of the country to be.  

Sameh Fawzy
He has to restructure the state apparatus.  This is the issue.

Marwan Bishara
Do you think he can, he will?

Sameh Fawzy
He should have to, he should.  

Marwan Bishara
You know when I saw him in that photo op between the generals it seems like there’s this one civilian among this huge bureaucratic institution called Egypt. It’s very representative.

Leila Souief
If he doesn’t he’s going to have another revolution on his hands in a year’s time.

Marwan Bishara
What worries you more, if he confronts the military or if he becomes complicit with the military?

Leila Souief
If he becomes complicit with the military.

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery 
He can’t be either.

Marwan Bishara
It can’t be either?  What do you mean?

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
He can’t confront, he should not confront.  At the same he should not…

Leila Souief
No, this is where we disagree absolutely.  I think The Muslim Brotherhood are going to keep trying to not confront and…

Marwan Bishara
You mean accommodate?

Leila Souief
Yes and they’ll end up being complicit and we’ll have another revolution which will kick them and the military out of the country.

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
As a pragmatic policies I agree with you so he should be…

Leila Souief
It doesn’t work.  It is not pragmatic.  The military do not want to let go of a single inch.

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
… make very complicated negotiation to make this transfer period.  We need transfer period to... not now can’t cut the situation but we can make this compromising.

Leila Souief
The military are refusing to give up even a single inch.  No.

Marwan Bishara
But these are revolutionary times, no?  In revolutionary times you take revolutionary measures.

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
Not now, revolution time when we were on the 11th of February, but we wait now about one year and four or five months to speak about…

Marwan Bishara
I would like…

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
… political picture.

Leila Souief
This is where we completely disagree.  This is why I don’t consider the Muslim Brotherhood as a revolutionary…

Marwan Bishara
I usually prefer that we end Empire on a disagreement rather than agreement.  I just wanna get your last thought on a very simple question. You think it’s been 18 months to revolution or since the revolution? You think the revolution continues in Egypt?

Abdul Mawgoud Dardery
Oh, it does, it just has to continue.

Marwan Bishara
Leila, it continues?

Leila Souief
It continues.

Marwan Bishara
Sameh?

Sameh Fawzy
I have a different view.

Marwan Bishara
You don’t think it continues?

Sameh Fawzy
No, if you speak from political perspective I …

Marwan Bishara
It’s mutating into something different?

Sameh Fawzy
It’s different because we will start our transitional period now where we haven’t transitional period before.  We start our transition period now.

Marwan Bishara
That’s what some people call negotiated revolution.

Abu Al-’Ila Madi
Yes but we’ve continued the revolution but another phrases, negotiation and cooperation with a big wide of political groups.

Marwan Bishara
Leila, Abdul Mawgoud, Sameh, Abu Al-’Ila thank you for joining Empire.

Narrator
For more on the emerging political forces beyond the brotherhood and the military we headed to the headquarters of former presidential candidate and former leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood Dr Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh to discuss the state of play in the country following the elections.

Marwan Bishara
Dr. Abdel Moneim [ARABIC DIALOGUE].
There are many reasons to be optimistic but there are also just as many to be pessimistic.  What is your reading of today’s map?

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
I think after the presidential elections and the removal of the Mubarak regime candidate by democratic elections, honest elections, at the end the elections resulted in a patriotic candidate from the FJP. I might disagree with him on certain issues but I consider this a gain for the Egyptian revolution.
But this victory lacks many things and is marred in particular with what’s called the additional constitutional declaration, which is unconstitutional.  The first step of the elected President, who is a representative of the people, should be to cancel this declaration.  

Marwan Bishara
But do you think he can do that?

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
Yes, he has popular legitimacy because of the elections.  He has legal and political legitimacy.  The SCAF has no popular legitimacy. 

Marwan Bishara
Do you think he wants to do that?

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
Well, that depends on his intentions and I can’t speak for that.  But this is what he should do.

Marwan Bishara
But don’t you think that it is divided now on secular and religious, that even the opposition is divided among people like you who have more of an Islamist leaning beliefs and the others who are totally secular or liberal?

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
I’m against that kind of division.Firstly, here in Egypt we don’t have militant secularism or anti-religious secularism, maybe it exists in Turkey or Tunisia but not here.  Secondly, to some people who say that they are against a religious state or a military state, they are against something that doesn’t exist.  There’s a difference between saying I’m against wrong practices of the FJP party or religious parties or SCAF and between opposing parties that support a religious or military state. No one is asking for that.

Marwan Bishara
You don’t think the Nour party and the Salafists as well as big chunk of  the Muslim Brotherhood today want a religious Islamic state?

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
No one is asking for a religious state nor would that ever be possible in Egypt.  A modern civil democratic state based on changing power and elections and popular will is what parties like the FJP and Nour are asking for and practicing.

Marwan Bishara
Don’t you think there are still elements who do want a constitution that is based totally on the Sharia and that the fatwas will be the decisive factor?

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
No one who asks for Sharia as a basis of a constitution and article two is asking for Fatwa as a source of laws, not at all.  No one can make laws besides the elected Parliament.

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
Under the watch of the constitution of course, not any religious authorities.

Marwan Bishara
If The Muslim Brotherhood want, as President Morsi says, a civic democratic constitutional state then what justifies your party because these are your ideas in the first place?

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
In terms of ideas, yes, they are our ideas.  Our existence is justified by the fact that we are more connected to the people.  We want to actually realise these ideas in reality and not just keep them in the realm of ideas.

Marwan Bishara
So you don’t think The Brotherhood are sincere in these statements?

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
I won’t say insincere but there’s something lacking in implementing their ideas.

Marwan Bishara
Why? Because there’s contradiction between their programme and their declaration?

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
No, no, not in their programme.  That’s a part of their thinking.  It’s about their work and the reality on the ground.

Marwan Bishara
How do you foresee your future relationship with the Brotherhood?  Are you going to be an opposition to them or are you gonna work in coalition in the next phase?

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
Our position towards the Muslim Brotherhood is similar to our position to other parties: cooperation in terms of national interest and then, beyond that, working along our own ideas to meet our own interests.

Marwan Bishara
Do you think the configuration of the new Parliament will change?

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
Yes, if we have elections they will change.

Marwan Bishara
In favour of whom?

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
No, not in favour of Islamists.

Marwan Bishara
Because they didn’t perform.

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
Four months ago the FJP took 11 million votes in the parliamentary elections but in the presidential elections they only got five and a half million votes.

Marwan Bishara
And you think this is the gap that you’re gonna fill?

Translation for Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh
Of course and when there was a runoff with Morsi the extra votes he got were not from the FJP and their supporters, they were our voters and others who opposed the previous regime’s candidates.

Marwan Bishara
Well, good luck.

Marwan Bishara
As we wrap up our journey through Egypt’s political landscape I am reminded by a recent promise of President Morsi not to hold up traffic with his motorcade as Mubarak did. 

Narrator
Knowing how much Egyptians appreciate such symbolic statements, Morsi has been making gestures and promises by the dozens. His humble style and kind words have also been welcomed by a people scornful of leaders who blow their own horns.

Marwan Bishara
But Egyptians are a practical people who prefer deeds over words.  They know all too well that promises, gestures and sound bites are as effective in solving problems as blowing horns at traffic jams.

9921

Source:
Al Jazeera
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