Egypt should postpone its first elections following the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak so fledgling political parties can gain a foothold in the revolutionized nation, business and political leader Ahmed Said told Newsmax.
Said heads one of those parties — the Free Egyptian Party — and said if voters go to the polls Nov. 15, they probably will support the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
“The chances of the new parties in general are very slim at the moment, and this is part of the confusion and the struggle that is going on in the Egyptian political scene right now,” he said. “You cannot ask a party that was just formed a couple of months ago to indulge in an election that will shape the Egyptian political life for the next 30 years.”
Said told Newsmax the Muslim Brotherhood remains the most active political party and that many Egyptians fear it will dominate the elections if they take place this fall. Many Egyptians want to see democracy flourish.
“People are afraid that because the only faction who is preferred right now are the Muslim Brothers, that if they take part in this election, then if they win majority, it will be very difficult to change the scene again,” he said.
When asked about the overall mood in Egypt since the revolution, Said, speaking from Cairo, described it as “a bit shaky and confusing.”
After Mubarak was deposed on Jan. 25, the National Democratic Party was completely dismantled. It had ruled Egypt since 1981.
Twelve new parties have formed, among them, the Free Egyptian Party.
“It was a normal reaction for most of the people who did not actually exercise politics before the revolution to start forming parties,” Said told Newsmax. “I think it was a normal step for all Egyptians to start getting unified under different political parties.”
The well-established Islamist groups have a strong and active base, while the newer parties have members who are more passive, he said.
“Unfortunately, the absolute majority of the people who belong to our faction … who believe in a civilized country … are still passive, and it is our duty now to get them into the street,” he said. “We need some time in order to reach the people.”
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When asked whether Egypt would turn into a theocratic state, Said admitted some of the Islamist factions are calling for the application of Sharia law.
“These factions are asking to completely ignore the fact that we have a constitution, to draft a new constitution,” he said.
Said denied the military is taking steps to limit the influence of those Islamist factions.
“After the revolution, people are free to express themselves, and if you follow the Egyptian scene right now, there are demonstrations every Friday at the Tahrir Square,” he said. “I don’t think they are taking any measures to stop any political faction from growing or anything like that.”
The Egyptian people have committed themselves to political change, although the pace of change is slow.
“The Egyptian people will not accept the Mubarak regime or any remnants of the Mubarak regime anymore,” Said told Newsmax.
He dispelled any notion that Egyptians harbor anti-Israeli or anti-Christian sentiments.
“We’ve not seen any struggle between Muslims and Christians,” he said. “Muslims and Copts are living peacefully right now. A lot of Muslims are against the application of Sharia and standing side by side by their Coptic brothers.”
“Is a post-Mubarak Egypt likely to be hostile to the United States?” Newsmax asked Said.
“I don’t think so at all,” he responded. “The United States is a country that is very well-respected. People look up to the Americans. I don’t think there are any anti-American sentiments. You have to come to Egypt to see for yourself.”
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