Friday, June 28, 2013


I really miss blogging and miss my blog. I think I should return to blogging soon. Meanwhile, here is an attempt to explain what is happening now in Egypt and what should we be expecting to happen next. I wrote this in English, specially, for my foreign friends who cannot read my posts in Arabic. I hope this helps clarify the image for you: 

The whole world, not only Egypt, is looking forward to the 30th of June. By then, the new Islamist president of the post-revolution Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, would have completed a full year of cumulative fails in running state affairs. Over that year, the Egyptians suffered a lot from the selfishness of the regime that did not shy from working exclusively for the good of the Muslim Brotherhood group even if it is on the expense of Egypt itself. As a result, the Egyptian people decided that the Muslim Brotherhood have wasted their opportunity and does not deserve to remain in power any more. 

The persistence of Egyptians to remove the MB regime was clearly expressed through a massive petition signing campaign, under the name “Tamrud” or Rebel, which successfully collected more than fifteen million signatures in less than three months. The petition calls upon the president to resign and for the constitutional court to decide on a date for early presidential elections. The number of those who signed the petition exceeds the number of those who voted for Morsi last year with three million people. Democratically speaking, it makes perfect sense to go with the demands of the majority and hold early presidential elections. I am so proud to say, that my Ibn Khaldun Center for Democratic Studies (IKC) was the first to launch the call for early presidential elections after the severe forgeries we monitored in the presidential elections of last year.  

Among the many public opinion polls and surveys that we ran at IKC last year, two results should be highlighted as an explanation to what is happening today and what we expect to see on June 30th and what should we expect to happen after the success or – G-d forbid – failure of that day. The first result is related to a series of surveys on citizen satisfaction towards the performance of the Muslim Brotherhood regime and government. The survey targeted a random sample from all over Egypt and was conducted on a quarterly basis since Morsi came in power last summer. The second result is related to a nation-wide opinion poll that we ran in April to find out the most popular alternative that the people look forward to have in case Morsi, voluntarily or forcibly, resigns.  

In July 2012, only one month after Morsi was elected, the survey showed that 40.3% of Egyptians were satisfied with the performance of the president. During this month, Morsi – a new president then – made an endless list of flowery promises that included improving the economic status and empowering women and religious minorities to take decision-making positions. That is probably what made the people more optimistic about the future and was reflected on the indicator of satisfaction. 

In November 2012, amid the wave of protests outside the presidential palace, the citizen satisfaction index dramatically declined to 8.5%. The reason for this severe decline could be explained by the violent involvement of the militias of the Muslim Brotherhood in cooperation with police forces in beating and torturing the protests outside the presidential palace, who were protesting the failure of the government in dealing with internal crises. 

In June 2013, in coincidence with the first anniversary of Morsi’s rule, the satisfaction index showed an attention-grabbing slight rise in the level of satisfaction to 15%. What makes this slight rise in the satisfaction level especially interesting is that it comes amidst massive protests all over Egypt calling for Morsi’s resignation. A sensible explanation could relate to the threats of violence that Islamists have been spreading since the beginning of the month to scare the people from participating in street protests planned on June 30th. This fear was also coupled with the disappointment caused by the military’s loud statements that they are not willing to get re-involved in the political life and rather focus on their traditional role of protecting the borders.

In April, we ran a public opinion poll that asked Egyptian citizens about the extent of their acceptance of the army returning to the political scene during this critical time after having withdrawn for more than six months. The sample included two thousand people from different political, social and intellectual backgrounds with 63 percent of them under the age of 35. The sample included residents from both the countryside and urban cities including Cairo and Northern and Southern cities. Eighty two per cent agreed that the military should return in power as soon as possible to return security and stability to our life. Forty-seven percent of the sample asked that the army, if it returned to power, declares a specific period during which it would run the country as well as transparency with its plans during the transition period.

We, at the Ibn Khaldun Center, agreed to participate in the protests of June 30, not only as individual protesters, but also as researchers. We plan to survey the protesters in different cities and governorates about what they are expecting after the fall of the current regime. The main purpose of this is to avoid creating a gap similar to what was created after the fall of Mubarak, two years ago, when the revolutionaries were lost in how to build up democracy after bringing down a dictator. This gap is what allowed the MB to seize power despite they are not qualified to run the country. June 30 is important, but what matters most to all of us is what should happen after the success or failure of the upcoming wave of protests. This is exactly what I, personally, and all my colleagues at IKC would devote their time to discover in the upcoming few weeks.