|English.news.cn 2012-12-29 04:53:09|
by Shaimaa Behery, Tian Dongdong
CAIRO, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) — After witnessing in 2012 a series of political measures deemed to be cornerstones for its new political establishments after the 2011 turmoil, Egypt is expected to tackle the missions of maintaining political stability and reviving economy in the coming year.
Observers said 2012 could be considered as a “year of hard political mission,” in reference to the political measures taken to build a new regime after the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak.
“To get ride of the traces of a regime that lasted for 30 years and build a new one is a very hard mission, of which a great part has been achieved in the year of 2012,” Saed Lawendy, a political expert with al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told Xinhua.
In June 2012, Mohamed Morsi, former head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, was elected to be Egypt’s first civilian president in decades. In December, a new constitution that triggered a division in Egyptian society was approved by 63.8 percent of voters in a referendum.
“Choosing the president and writing the constitution means a push forward for the political stability,” said Lawendy.
Echoing Lawndy’s view, Noha Bakr, a political studies professor with the American University in Cairo, said the most important steps to political stability have been achieved in the year of 2012, so it is time to start fundamental steps leading to economic stability in 2013.
POLITICAL STABILITY ON THE WAY
According to Bakr, Egypt’s current regime has been “reinforced” and “stabilized” by the new constitution.
“Now, Morsi is in his post on a constitutional basis identifying his powers, and any political measures can be taken as long as they are according to the constitution regardless any controversy,” said Bakr, predicting that the country will see political stability and less demonstrations.
“I believe now the opposition will review their approach in protests and demonstrations, because they practically have realized the last word is left for the polling boxes,” Bakr said, pointing to the recent referendum which ended in the approval of the draft constitution despite the opposition’s long demonstrations urging refusal.
Mohamed Adel, spokesman of April 6 movement, one of the most prominent opposition groups, agreed with Bakr’s view, saying that the opposition was led to search for a new way to awake the people and to continue the reformation.
“I confess that the opposition committed a fatal mistake in the last year by focusing on demonstrations more than speaking to the ordinary people and approaching them like what the Islamists do,” said Adel.
“The opposition should unite and target the change through the seats of parliament, and through the negotiations and dialogues,” he added.
Moreover, the parliamentary elections to be run in 2013 on the basis of the new constitution are expected to share in the political stability.
Political expert Saed Lawendy predicted the liberal and Islamic forces to make balance in the parliamentary seats, tracing it back to the “awareness” of the Egyptian citizens that has increased lately.
“The previous parliamentary elections were the first real democratic experience the Egyptians live, so they mainly chose the Islamists touched by the religious consideration. Now, after they live with Islamists for several months, their choice will be based on rationality,” Lawendy said.
TIME TO WORK ON ECONOMY
As Egypt’s economy has been deteriorating since last year’s unrest, fears are being raised that the economic state may worsen in the coming year. According to recent remarks of Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil, the budget deficit had reached 42 percent.
The cabinet has initiated a series of steps to boost the economy during the past year, such as proposing to the International Monetary Fund for a loan of 4.8 billion U.S. dollars and issuing a decree to raise the taxes over 50 types of commodities.
However, head of Economic Research of Sadat Academy Ehab al- Desouky said it will remain difficult in 2013 for decision-makers regarding economy. The IMF loan will help to bridge the budget deficit, but not enough to “refresh the economy,” Desouky said.
“I advise the cabinet to use policies like the maximum limit for incomes, and rationalizing the spending,” said Desouky, predicting the Egyptian economy to be stabilized within the year without strikes and with wise policies.
“The government should take several steps to revive the economy, but it will not be a smart decision for the government to lift any subsidies in 2013… It will be disastrous,” the economic expert said.
Another economic expert, Hamdi Abdel-Azeem, agreed with Desouki ‘s point of view, saying that if the new cabinet comes with a clear economic program, the economy will be stabilized.
“We should be aware that the political stability is the gate for the economic stability, so we wish the political conditions stabilized in the year of 2013, so that we can build our economy,” Abdel-Azeem emphasized.