For obvious reasons, the Muslim Brotherhood is miffed, as hurrying the elections along would stack the deck in their favor. That was also the case with the hasty referendum on constitutional amendments held in March, which was promoted in part by Islamic groups including Ikhwan members as a way to keep Egypt’s Christians in line.
At every step, they are using the democratic process as a means to their ends. Right now, it is the path of least resistance. “Calls grow in Egypt to delay elections,” by Hamza Hendawi and Maggie Michael for the Associated Press, June 19:
CAIRO (AP) “” Calls are growing in Egypt for a delay of September’s parliamentary elections to give parties formed in the aftermath of Hosni Mubarak’s ouster more time to organize.
The push, which now has the prime minister’s backing, is aimed at keeping the well-organized Muslim Brotherhood from dominating the next legislature and exerting disproportionate Islamist influence over the drafting of a new constitution.
The debate over the timing of the elections and the new constitution is a political novelty in a country where elections under the 29-year rule of former President Mubarak were routinely marred by widespread fraud and their results known before the first ballot was cast. […]
Interim Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, in an interview posted Sunday on Egyptian news website Masrawy.com, said he preferred a delay in the vote to allow the nation’s “political landscape” to take shape. He also hinted that drafting a new constitution before the elections would not be a bad idea either.
Sharaf, however, made clear that a delay is his personal preference, and that his Cabinet would do everything it can to ensure a fair and secure vote if the election went ahead as scheduled.
The Islamic fundamentalist Brotherhood, Egypt’s largest and best organized political group, reacted angrily to Sharaf’s comments, with a top figure in the group saying the prime minister should resign before expressing personal views.
“The people want to transfer power to a civilian administration. This is in the interest of the country,” said Sobhi Saleh, a Brotherhood leader who helped draft amendments to Egypt’s current constitution that were voted on in March. “The Muslim Brotherhood are against postponement and against drafting the constitution before elections.”
Some fear that elections will leave the doors wide open for Islamist ministers to govern, a council of clerics to decide which laws to pass or drop depending on how they fit according to Islamic Sharia law and where liberal and secular voices will be labeled “infidels.”
Those worries have been prompted by the fact that the 90-year-old Brotherhood has revved up the social services campaign that has long helped it build its following. Just after the collapse of Mubarak’s rule, it formed for the first time a political party and launched a strong nationwide campaign….