A leading dissident today welcomed the prospects of Mohamed el-Baradei entering Egypt’s presidential race in 2011.
Ayman Nour, imprisoned after challenging President Hosni Mubarak in the country’s first genuinely contested race in 2005, said there was “no competition” between them and he looked forward to collaborating with el-Baradei, shortly due to retire as head of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Nour was addressing today’s conference on Middle East democracy at the National Endowment for Democracy. He recently formed a coalition of opposition groups – Did Al-Wirasa, or “against inheritance” – to oppose Gamal Mubarak’s pharaonic succession to the presidency.
Keeping it in the family is in danger of becoming a favored form of political non-transition in the Arab world. Most of the region’s regimes are controlled by the same people who were in charge 10 years ago, or their close relatives, the conference heard.
But dynastic transfer might not be too smooth in Egypt, analysts suggest.
“Since 2004, Egypt has witnessed more political and economic protests in any period since the 1919 revolution,” says Georgetown University’s Samer Shehata. “That potentially poses a big problem for the regime. Those are things that could get out of control.”
And the country’s powerful military might not consent either. The president has come from the army ever since the monarchy’s overthrow by Nasser’s Free Officers’ Movement in 1952.
“If such a situation were to occur, many observers wonder whether the?military and security establishment would remain in their barracks or?re-enter politics to establish order,” according to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service.
It is possible “that the military will intervene and put one of its own into the presidency instead of Gamal, perhaps with support from members of the NDP old guard,” writes Carnegie’s Michelle Dunne.