Tuesday, July 17, 2012
By Sharif Abdel Kouddous
"The inauguration of the country’s first elected president on 30 June was meant to mark the final step in the country’s so-called “transition,” with a long-heralded handover of power from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces to a civilian government, complete with an elected parliament and a new constitution.
Instead, a year and a half after the revolution began, astonishingly little has been accomplished with regard to laying down the foundations of a post-Hosni Mubarak state. The popularly elected People’s Assembly was dissolved, and the Shura Council appears to be headed to a similar fate. The Constituent Assembly tasked with drafting the new constitution is facing deep divisions, and an upcoming court case challenging its legitimacy may result in the disbanding of the 100-member body for a second time.
In fact, the presidency is the only significant elected representative office in government, though its powers have been severely curtailed by an 11th-hour constitutional declaration, issued unilaterally by the ruling generals, that carves out SCAF as a fourth branch of government in what has been dubbed the final stage of a constitutional coup.....
The only group that has unwaveringly stood against military rule for much of the transition has been the core of the revolutionary youth through continued street protests, advocacy and guerrilla media campaigns. For their troubles they have been shot at, tear gassed, beaten, arrested, blinded and killed. An entire generation has spent the past year and a half shuttling between hospitals, morgues, police stations and jails in a struggle for which they were insulted and vilified by much of the political elite.
While SCAF appears to be winning the fight, in many ways it finds itself in a weaker position than before the revolution began. There is active opposition to the military’s plans and open discussion and debate over its political and economic privileges. Last month’s power grab can be interpreted as an act of desperation as opposed to hubris. In that sense, the military’s fears augur well for the prospect of change."