Egypt’s Best-Case Scenario


Marc Lynch outlines it:

An Islamist sweep two months from now could allow for some truly alarming legislative encroachments on personal freedoms and civil rights. But a strong electoral performance by the opposition could also – finally – create meaningful checks on Presidential authority for the first time in modern Egyptian history. The best case here would be that the opposition can build on the energy of its protests, its newfound unity and the strongly felt antipathy towards the Muslim Brotherhood, to compete effectively two months from now in Parliamentary elections. That would position it to legislate more liberal interpretations of the Constitution, and to block any Presidential efforts to impose a more autocratic or more Islamist agenda.

His disclaimer:

I realize that this is a perhaps overly optimistic reading of Egyptian politics. I recognize the intensity of the political passions unleashed during this crisis, the legitimate doubts over the intentions of the Brotherhood and the military, and the many possible ways in which things could go horribly wrong. But I also think it's important to visualize a pathway towards a more successful transition. What Egypt needs now is a roadmap towards completing the Egyptian transition to an instituionalized democratic system, and to head off the polarization and alienation rather than fan the flames. Let's hope that Egypt can once again muddle through and get there.

(Photo: Egyptian riot police stand guard outside the Shura Council, the upper house of parliament where the Constituent Assembly drafted the country's new constitution, as protesters against Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi demonstrate as Morsi gives a speech before a newly empowered senate in Cairo on December 29, 2012. Morsi said in the address, a disputed new constitution guaranteed equality for all Egyptians, and downplayed the country's economic woes. By Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)