Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports: As Egypt enters the final days of its so-called “transition,” the entire political process is on the verge of collapse.
The essential foundations of a post-Mubarak government that were supposed to have been lain over the past 16 months – the legislature, the presidency, the constitution – each suffer a crisis of legitimacy, the result of a military-managed transitional process so deformed that it barely make sense anymore.
Meanwhile, the lack of any semblance of reform within key state institutions – most notably the security forces, the judiciary and the media – was reconfirmed in the most dramatic of ways this month with the verdict in the trial of Hosni Mubarak, his sons and other top regime officials.
The turmoil has triggered massive protests across the country barely three weeks from the scheduled handover of power from military to civilian rule, with hundreds of thousands of Egyptians taking to the streets in a bid to reclaim their revolution.
The escalation of political crises began last month in the wake of the highly anticipated presidential elections. The first round of the poll left the country with a bitter, divisive outcome, pitting Ahmed Shafik, a stalwart of the Mubarak regime against Mohammed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The result has left the majority of voters facing the most difficult of dilemmas, forced to choose between one candidate who is the very embodiment of the former regime that they rose up against last year; and the other a member of a conservative Islamist group that is that is, in many ways, the mirror establishment – highly hierarchical and disciplined, supported by patronage networks – and is widely viewed as having abandoned the revolution early on in the pursuit of its own interests. [Continue reading…]