The Big Pharaoh
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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Islamist gains in Egypt give Washington pause


"The United States inadvertently helped Egypt's Islamists make strong electoral gains this month and is now rethinking the wisdom of pressing rapid democratic change in a major Arab country, analysts said on Tuesday.

The secular opposition parties which Washington favored have performed poorly, picking up only a handful of seats -- way short of the five percent threshold they would need if they want to field a candidate in presidential elections.

"The Americans have reassessed the situation and come to the conclusion that fast and vigorous democratization in Egypt is impossible and will work in an undesirable way," said Mohamed el-Sayed Said, a political analyst at a Cairo think-tank."

That's good news. I have always argued for a slow transition to democracy in Egypt. In other words, pressures to be added on the regime so it opens up a bit by bit. Aprubt democracy and sudden elections are not necessary the best way forward.


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