Archive for September, 2014

Following Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s recent statements on parliamentary elections and holding them according to schedule, there is a need to address the importance of garnering political backing and not just settling with popular support.

The massive turnout to buy Suez Canal investment certificates and the collecting of 61 billion Egyptian pounds in eight days revealed the extent of popularity Sisi enjoys in Egypt. Thousands of Egyptians met his call to finance digging the Suez Canal by buying investment certificates and it only took them eight days to do what some expected would need months.images

Securing political backing is not a political luxury or a synonym for political corruption

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Egyptians’ support of Sisi has made itself apparent before, such as when they took to the streets in compliance with his call to mandate him to fight terrorism following the June 30 revolution. It also appeared during the referendum on the constitution and the presidential elections. This support once again revealed itself via financial support when they decided to pay whatever they could afford to buy investment certificates in a project which they seem to consider as their national project.

Real popular backing

This support shows that Sisi enjoys real popular backing. The Egyptians truly believe in Sisi and stand with him against the state’s enemies whose attempts to sabotage the country continue and who continue to kill our soldiers in Sinai. However the question here is: Does the presence of popular backing make political backing dispensable?

This current phase of restructuring the Egyptian state with its new regime needs to be intellectually strong in order to keep religion away from politics and to maintain the sanctity of beliefs. This won’t be achieved unless the president has political backing which supports these ideas and introduces them to the people. Although the president enjoys popular backing, there must also be a political entity that expresses the Egyptians’ desires and their vision of the new regime. This would help maintain the popular backing and will create a connection with it. This will eventually help achieve the Egyptians’ aims, especially as there are upcoming parliamentary elections. If there’s no political backing and just popular backing, the next parliament will be weak and instead of the latter helping save Egypt, it will be a new obstacle preventing the progress of state plans.

Fuel prices

The importance of a political backing was highlighted following decisions to increase fuel prices. Although these decisions were important, some parties exploited them to harm Sisi’s popularity and influence his supporters. Why is political backing important here? Well, it would have explained the reasons behind these decisions. Recent economic decisions are positive but the problem is that the government cannot find a language to address people and explain all about the financial revenues of increased fuel prices. Political backing is important in this case to explain why fuel prices were increased, why funds are being saved and how these funds will be used to develop the health and education sectors. If this had happened, the current controversy would not have taken place.

Securing political backing is not a political luxury or a synonym for political corruption. What matters is how this political backing is managed and what it will provide the state and the renaissance project which Sisi is working on. Popular and political backing will then be the wings of this project and will help overcome all obstacles, leading the state to flourish.

Advertisements

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi needs to be surrounded by people with a proper understanding of Egypt’s society and problems. Therefore, I recommend a non-traditional advisory body to work with him.

I know that there are many advisory bodies in existence or under consideration, and that there is plenty of negativity around the concept of presidential advisors due to the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule. However, this should not be an obstacle to creating a real, efficient entity.images

It should keep away from the spotlight, and its members should be prohibited from dealing with the media under the title of “presidential advisor.” The media should also be prohibited from introducing them as such, and their media appearances must be free of charge.

The body’s task should be to present technical advice on national policies and strategies in relation to politics, the media and the economy. It should adhere to the constitution and the law in addressing the effects of state policy regionally and internationally.

Create solutions

The body should work with a committee of prominent consultants who discuss the political situation and make suggestions on how to deal with it. These consultants must also come up with solutions, conduct studies, and communicate with assigned parties for specific purposes during specific circumstances.

There is plenty of negativity around the concept of presidential advisors due to the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule

Abdel Latif el-Menawy

Responsibilities can be specified in providing consultations, supporting ministries in setting effective strategies and policies, conducting examinations, and highlighting long-term challenges.

In addition to the group of consultants, there should be a public relations group that deals with the local and international media. Its aim should be to communicate with media outlets, form lobby groups, carry out campaigns, communicate with decision-makers and opinion-leaders by dealing with global PR companies, and suggest a media and political approach for crises at hand.

There should also be an economic team of well-known, reputable, competent technical volunteers and specialists. They should periodically present studies to the president and his aides, in accordance with the general vision of the state’s orientation and desired policies.

This committee’s work must be purely advisory. There must be a coordination policy that specifies how it deals with government institutions and bodies. Committee members must be prohibited from communicating with any media without prior permission.