Last January, activists in Egypt launched an uprising in Tahrir Square. Demands for political reform led to the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. A newly-elected parliament held its inaugural session about one year later. Diane and guests examine the transition taking place in Egypt now.
What Has Changed Since Mubarak Stepped Down?
The biggest change, Taylor said, is that the people of Egypt now have a voice. “The people’s voices not only in elections, but also on the street, are now being heard around the world,” he said. Some things, however, haven’t changed. The military played a large role under Mubarak, as it does now. The newly-elected parliament now has real power, and it must organize itself so it can efficiently legislate, Taylor said.
U.S.-Egypt Relations: Our Priorities
“Our priorities are to see and support a transition to a democratic government,” Taylor said. “Our relations with Egypt benefit us, the United States, and I believe they benefit the Egyptian people as well. These relationships we want to maintain,” he said. The Egyptian economy is in deep trouble, and the government is currently examining the possibility of an agreement with the International Monetary Fund to help alleviate some of its immediate problems, Taylor said.
What Happens If The Military Doesn’t Cede Power?
The people have expressed themselves well, and Taylor expects that they will demand the military cede power. The military has made it clear that it intends to turn power over to the civilian government by next July, when a new president will have been elected under a new constitution. “I believe them when they say they do not like governing,” Taylor. They are not eager to cling to power,” Taylor said of the military leadership.
Another View Of The Military’s Intentions
Samer Shehata is not as convinced that the military will cede power so easily. “The military has made comments and done things that really lead many of us to question their desire to midwife a democratic transition, which is what they promised, or their willingness to cede power,” Shehata said. “They have interests. They have interests that they want to maintain.”
You can read the full transcript here.