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5 Challenges Facing the Egyptians Who Sparked the Revolution

Egyptian liberals and moderates are busy dismantling and reassembling a variety of new political parties, coalitions and associations in preparation for a new round of elections.

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Rather, the opposition must make these elections focused on policy, and learn how to effectively lead the discourse rather than react to it. The opposition should also feature a strong and intelligent centerpiece message at the heart of their campaign, one that focuses on improving the livelihood of Egyptians, rather than just de facto campaigning as the “non-Islamists.” 

If, come election time, people believe that the Brotherhood will do them well in politics, the opposition needs to convince people they can do even “better,” and not simply focus on warning against the “Ikhwanisation of the state.” Another serious consideration is also how to argue for progressive ideas in a manner that is mindful and respectful of a substantial conservative preference within society. Some intellectual entrepreneurship is due.

5-The Return Of Ahmed Shafiq: One more conundrum is how would liberal parties react if former Mubarak-era prime minister and former presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq returns — as he had announced before — to Egyptian political life and form a political party. 

Shafiq, a figure heavily associated with the former regime, came in second place in the first round of the presidential elections and won nearly half of the votes in the run off. Some have went as far as speculating that he could potentially stage a Viktor Yanukovich-like post-revolution return to power one day. 

The former presidential candidate remains a self-declared “liberal” and a staunch Brotherhood critic who theoretically commands substantial support. The Catch-22 is that if Shafiq’s potential party is allowed to join a wider liberal alliance, then such an alliance would be setting itself up to PR attacks that could well damage it. On the other hand, if Shafiq’s party goes into the elections on its own, it could eat away votes that would otherwise go to a potential liberal alliance. Either way, a Shafiq return could cause substantial damage to liberal hopes of a strong electoral showing.

Bassem Sabry is a blogger and writer who specializes in Egyptian and Middle Eastern affairs.

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