All of the president’s men
REUTERS/Andrew Biraj
By MOHAMED SOLIMAN

“Will he come alone or will he come with his men?” This is the question I pose when friends ask me about my vision of the Egyptian situation after the upcoming elections, the presidential and parliamentary elections. The future of Egypt will not be formed by the next president but by choosing his statesmen. The next president has inevitable questions about his men.

If the president does come alone, he will probably rely only on the same approach on the selection of cabinet after January 2011 by naming a brilliant technocrat as Prime Minister. The government composition varies between technocrats and university professors over sixty years to handle economy, investment, and foreign relations.

The infrastructure ministers are likely affiliated to the armed forces, either as former military officers or politically biased. He would rely on the trustworthy officials to handle education, health, justice, culture, media, and what is left of the portfolios. He would be likely to let the next Minister of Interior to have the upper hand in the political affairs in Egypt.

Such non-homogeneous and non-active Cabinet formulation was proven as failures during the five governments post-January 25 Revolution. Egypt is in a political, economic, and social crisis after June 30, which does not give any chance for any government to fail or not to modify the path of the state that is endangered to fall. This is regarding  the case of financial and political suspension of support from the three major Gulf states Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Kuwait.

If the next president realized the failure of this formula of forming a successful government to save Egypt from its current disaster, it would make him stand alone to decide which camp will he will depend on when it comes to the formation of the government and state administration.

It will get complicated; there is a camp before the January 25 Revolution composed of businessmen over sixty, who also are members of the technical committees in the former ruling National Democratic Party (NDP) and in both   the People’s Assembly and Shura Council. They include ministers who were representing the Historical Egyptian bureau on the throne of the state ministerial system for periods up to twenty years.

This camp reunited and reproduced itself during ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s regime and used its executive tools to bring down the ruling Muslim Brotherhood in the June 30 Demonstration. The pre-revolution state administration founded several organizations to be its entry point into the political landscape of Egypt.

The head of these organizations is ‘Egypt is My Country Front , led by the former Mufti Ali Gomaa, the tough former Minister of Interior Ahmed Gamal El-Din, the well-known Nasserist journalist Mostafa Bakry, and former President Hosni Mubarak‘s adviser Mostafa al-Fiki.

It also includes 25 ministers and governors, as well as deans and former heads of governmental institutions.  Egypt is My Country Front is an organizational hub for the pre-January 25 statesmen in order to reposition itself in the political landscape, especially after June 30.

The Alliance of People’s Deputies are at the head of the coalition, including 230 former parliamentarians and 200 local council leaders with the membership of three former ministers from Mubarak’s regime; former Minister of Social Solidarity Ali Moslehi, former Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Mohamed Nasr Allam, and former Minister of Economy Mostafa Al-Said.

There are serious negotiations between the Alliance of People’s deputies, Egypt is My Country Front and Ahmed Shafiq‘s Egyptian national movement.

The pre-Revolution statesmen organizations operate under basic political cover, which is supporting the nomination of Minister of Defense Al-Sisi for president and mobilizing crowds of citizens to vote “yes” for the constitutional referendum.

The main problem of the pre-Revolution camp is that they represent Egypt’s long decades of bureaucracy and does not have the vision and tools for to save it economically and politically. The second problem is that pre-January 25 icons average at seventy years old, which does not fit with a country where 40 percent of its population is youth.

The third problem is they stood behind former  candidate Ahmed Shafiq in the presidential elections, in contrast with the military’s rejection of Shafiq as president since he is a threat to the army who intends to make changes within the army leaders.

Part of the pre-Revolution camp continued to support Ahmed Shafiq, who UAE sees as Egypt’s upcoming  president. According to recent leaks, the relations between Cairo and Dubai are tensioned because of the nominations of Sisi and Shafiq.

The other camp, between January 25 Revolution and June 30, is part of the Egyptian state and participated in managing governmental economic institutions in the last decade of Mubarak’s rule. This camp was supporting the change in the political deadlock due to Mubarak’s long stay for more than three decades. But this camp was also against the flow after Mubarak stepped down and the negative effects on the economic situation.

This camp lacks the political hub for all of its figures. One of the camp icons is  Ziad Bahaa El-Din, who served as chairman of the General Authority for Financial Control, who recently resigned from his position as PM deputy for Economic Affairs, Hani Sarie El-Din as chairman of the Capital Market, Farouk El Okdah as governor of the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) and the well-known economic expert Hassan Heikal.

With other low media presence technocrats, this camp is divided into Revolution partisan personnel in the case of Baha El-Din, Sarie El-Din , and other political  independent figures in the case of Hassan Heikal.

This camp would expand  to include who ministers shined their names in the post -Revolution governments, such as Mounir Fakhri Abdel Nour in the Ministry of Tourism, Emad Abu Ghazy in the Ministry of Culture, Moataz Khurshid in the Ministry of Higher Education, and Abdullah Ghorab in the Ministry of Petroleum.

The circle may be widened to include some technocrats from Ahmed Nazif’s government, such as Ahmed Darwish in the Ministry of Administrative Development, and Rasheed Mohamed Rasheed in the Ministry of Industry.

This camp’s problem is that it is a complementary ministerial backup and cannot be a core for any government; it needs a ministerial group close to its inclination towards reform and democratic paths. It would be difficult to cooperate between this team and the state controlling security mindset since it destroys the hopes of achieving the desired results from their presence in the government.

Opinion articles are the responsibility of their authors, and do not reflect the editorial policy of The Cairo Post.

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