In a bid to revive Egypt’s troubled economy, President Mohamed Morsi has called for parliamentary elections. According to Morsi, the four stage elections will begin on April 27 and finish in late June.
According to the Guardian, a decree issued by Morsi Thursday will have the new parliament convene July 6 The Shura Council or the upper house of the Egyptian parliament cleared the way for Morsi to set the date for the lower house election.
The lower house was dissolved last year after the Egyptian Supreme Court ruled that a third of the members were elected illegally.
The Freedom and Justice party, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood is hopeful of seeking an outright majority and recover Egypt from the clout of instability and sporadic violence.
Egypt has been facing deep divisions between supporters of Muslim Brotherhood and secular parties ever since Hosni Mubarak was ousted in 2011.
In contrast to the enthusiasm displayed by the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi’s critics consider the declaration a sham. According to his opponents, Morsi propels the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood and failed to revive the economy or address the social needs of Egyptians.
Sporadic protests against Morsi's rule have lead to outbreaks of violence. At least 50 people have been killed in clashes this year.
In a tweet, Nobel Laureate and leader of Egypt’s National Salvation Front Mohammed El Baradei mentioned, “Holding the elections amid the persisting social tension and fragility of state institutions and before reaching a national consensus is irresponsible and will inflame the situation.”
El Baradei’s secular group is not willing to support the elections unless voting is postponed to allow tensions to ease and the economy to revive. The National Salvation Front also wants the constitution to be amended to reverse unpopular measures it says were imposed by Islamists.
Almost two years after the exit of Hosni Mubarak’s regime, Egypt is still in a state of unrest and instability, which has kept tourists and investors away. Egypt is experiencing the slowest growth in decades, and it cannot recover without the support from the International Monetary Fund.
Egypt is anticipating a $4.8 billion loan from the IMF. According to Reuters, Cairo reached an initial agreement with the IMF on the loan in November but postponed ratification the next month due to violence on the streets.
With the elections, Morsi is hoping to quell the unrest and revive the struggling economy. Morsi needs a majority in parliament that is sympathetic to his visions and goals.
But with a virulent opposition seeking his ouster, the future of Egyptian politics seems riddled with infighting and instability.
While the stakes are high for the Freedom and Justice Party, the anti-Morsi factions and secular groups also need to decide whether to take part in the elections and try to gain a grip in Egypt's elected institutions or boycott the elections in an attempt to deny legitimacy to the process.
At present, there seems to be no way out for Morsi. His hopes that elections will conclude Egypt’s turbulent transition to democracy can only materialize if he takes into confidence secular groups and other parties who constitute a significant portion of Egypt’s political landscape.
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