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2011年10月21日 (金)

エジプト国会選 「アラブの春」の先行きを占う

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Oct. 21, 2011)
Egyptian elections to show course of Arab Spring
エジプト国会選 「アラブの春」の先行きを占う(10月20日付・読売社説)

Egypt must carry out its parliamentary elections smoothly and steadily advance the country's transition to civilian rule.

Eight months have passed since President Hosni Mubarak, who wielded power in Egypt for nearly 30 years, resigned in the face of massive public protests.

In the first step toward democratization, candidates are being registered for the People's Assembly election.

However, the movement for democratic change in Egypt is in danger of losing momentum.

Tourism revenues are falling and the country's economic situation is dire.

Society has become freer, but confusion has spread.

In Cairo, Coptic Christians protesting a recent attack on a church by Islamic militants clashed with security forces, leaving at least 25 dead.

It was the worst bloodshed since the uprising that ousted Mubarak in February.

The turmoil could be further aggravated unless the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which is provisionally ruling the country, advances the transition to civilian rule without delay.


Emergence of Islamic parties

According to an announced timetable, an election for the legislative People's Assembly is to be held in three stages between Nov. 28 and Jan. 10.

After that, an election for the less powerful Shura Council, the chamber's upper house, will be held by March.

The new parliament will then convene and appoint members of a committee to draft a new constitution.

The draft constitution will be put to a national referendum later.

Islamic, liberal and other parties have announced their participation in the People's Assembly election.

However, the democratic groups of young people who demonstrated to bring down the Mubarak regime lack cohesiveness as a political force.

Instead, the eye of the storm in the elections will be the Freedom and Justice Party established by the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic fundamentalist organization.

The Brotherhood was persecuted under the Mubarak regime, but it became a legal entity after the political change.

The Brotherhood has won a solid support base through its charitable and medical services for the poor.

However, a date for the presidential election under the new constitution has yet to be set.

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces initially said it would end interim rule within six months, hinting that the presidential election would be held by the end of this year.


Clear schedule needed

Coordinating procedures and setting a timetable for democratization certainly takes time.

However, if prospects for a new civilian government fail to emerge, the people will become increasingly suspicious that the military might not give up the reins of government.

To eliminate such suspicions, the military needs to clearly present a schedule on the transition to civilian rule, which means holding a presidential election.

The international community is paying close attention to the course of democratic changes, which have been termed the Arab Spring.

If Egypt, which has a strong influence on Middle East peace efforts, stumbles in its democratization process, the whole region might become unstable.

Leaders of the Group of Eight major countries at a recent summit meeting announced their support for Egypt's democratization efforts.

Japan should increase economic assistance and other forms of support to the country.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 20, 2011)
(2011年10月20日01時25分  読売新聞)


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