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2014年6月 3日 (火)

エジプト選挙 治安回復を迫られる新大統領

The Yomiuri Shimbun 6:46 pm, June 02, 2014
New Egyptian president must restore public order, rebuild economy
エジプト選挙 治安回復を迫られる新大統領

Egypt will soon usher in another president hailing from the country’s military. President-elect Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi must act urgently to ensure the return of public order and the reconstruction of the economy that the Egyptian people have longed for.

In last week’s presidential election, former Defense Minister Sissi secured an overwhelming victory over his rival candidate.

Sissi led a de-facto military coup last July, removing President Mohammed Morsi from power, then establishing a provisional government to take control of the nation.

The provisional government has cracked down harshly on protests and clashes between protesters, thereby preventing further deterioration of public order. As a result, earnings from the country’s mainstay industry of tourism have recovered to a certain extent. It has also used a huge portion of the country’s budget to improve the nation’s infrastructure.

The election results reflect the public’s favorable appraisal of Sissi’s performance.

The Egyptian people, despite having toppled the government of President Hosni Mubarak, also a former military commander, in the Arab Spring popular revolt, apparently have no choice but to rely on the military to end the country’s prolonged turmoil.

The biggest challenge the new administration will face is dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic group that provided the deposed Morsi’s primary base of support.

Brotherhood looms large

The provisional government has designated the Muslim Brotherhood an illegitimate terrorist organization and arrested more than 20,000 members as terrorist suspects. Morsi himself is still being detained on suspicion of issuing orders to fire on antigovernment demonstrators during his term as president.

But the Brotherhood still enjoys strong support from certain quarters of Egyptian society. The dip in voter turnout for this election to 44 percent is believed to be the result of a boycott by the Brotherhood.

Merely repressing the Brotherhood is unlikely to bring about social stability. There are strong concerns that some segments of the organization could radicalize, further spreading terrorist attacks.

Sissi is also under pressure to reconstruct Egypt’s diplomatic relations with other countries.

As a part of Muslim Brotherhood policy, the Morsi administration supported Syrian rebels as well as Hamas, the Islamist organization that controls the Gaza Strip in Palestine.

As a consequence of these positions, Egypt’s relations with the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the Israeli government have deteriorated, diminishing the country’s diplomatic clout as a mediator within the region.

If Sissi can restore the nation’s previous diplomatic position as a moderate Arab state that values maintaining good relations with the United States, the country will act as a force to help stabilize the Middle East.

The United States and European nations have high expectations for Sissi’s diplomatic policies. Washington manifested those hopes this spring, when it partially resumed military assistance to Egypt that it had frozen after Morsi’s removal. Sissi’s election will also be a good opportunity for Japan to look closely at whether to normalize its own support programs for the nation, which have been stalled for some time.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, June 2, 2014)


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