Tangi Salaün: “Keeping score and score-settling”
These days in Egypt, there are those who rub their hands in anticipation of the vote-counting (the final round of the legislative elections takes place Tuesday January 10 and Wednesday January 11), and there are those who drain their cup to the dregs.
Though a meagre handful of seats are yet to be filled, it is now accepted that the Islamists possess around two-thirds of the seats in the People’s Assembly, with the Liberty and Justice Party (PLJ) of the Muslim Brotherhood way out in front, ahead of the Salafists.
Aware of the anxiety their sweeping victory has created in certain quarters, the Muslim Brothers are stepping up the conciliatory overtures: their leaders were seen in the crowds at the Coptic Christmas mass (on January 7) at the cathedral in Cairo. They were heard reciting that they would exclude no political force from the formation of the Assembly charged with writing the new Constitution, including the liberals.
Yet these same liberals have other worries: in the shadow of Hosni Mubarak’s trial (the prosecutor has demanded the death sentence for the “murder of demonstrators”), several of their leading lights are also being harassed by the courts after taking a hiding at the ballot box.
The Coptic billionaire Naguib Sawiris, telecoms magnate and founder of the secular party The Free Egyptians Party, is being charged with blasphemy after posting on his Twitter account last June, a cartoon representing a bearded Mickey Mouse and Minnie wearing a full-face veil, along with a caption that was, it must be said, fairly premonitory: “Egypt’s Future”.
Picture from the Twitter account of @Naguib Sawiris
Ayman Nour, runner-up in the presidential election in 2005 and whipping boy of the Mubarak regime, is accused of inciting violence during the bloody clashes in front of the Parliament between soldiers and revolutionaries last month.
The same charges are levelled at blogger Alaa Abdel-Fatah, a figurehead in the dispute, at the time of the massacre of Coptic demonstrators by the army last autumn (here is a video by Mosireen, an activists team). He is in provisional release since December 25th.
A flurry of legal proceedings that, to both those directly concerned and observers, carries a strong whiff of score-settling.
To go further :
Tangi Salaün, 39-year-old native of Brittany, is a journalist. Having lived in Cairo for fifteen years, he’s currently covering Egyptian news for Le Figaro, L’Express and RTL, but also for Le Temps in Geneva and Le Soir in (Brussels). He is also the co-author of two books, The Egypte of Tahrir (Le Seuil, May 2011) with journalist Claude Guibal, an Egypt, the beginnings of freedom (Michel Lafon, October 2011) with the Egyptian blogger Shahinaz Abdel Salam.
Twitter : @TangiSalaun
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