The Egyptian vice president Omar Suleiman has announced reforms including amending the constitution and beginning a dialogue with the opposition. An honest commitment to change, or a ruse to buy time and take the sting out of the pro-democracy protest?
euronews spoke to Amr Echchoubaki of the Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo.
Fawzi Sadallah, euronews:
Will these measures have a future, and will they succeed in convincing the opposition?
Amr Echchoubaki, Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies:
Truthfully, that depends on the ability of the regime to re-form via this commission or from any other eventual measures. The problem is that we no longer believe in this regime’s ability to make real political reforms under Mubarak’s rule, or that this commission aims to be a step towards amending the constitution – and not a ploy to gain time and put off problems to a later date, as we’ve been used to Mubarak doing for 30 years.
Mubarak is still clinging onto power. What is the role of the military in this stand-off between Mubarak and the protesters, knowing that the army – both active and retired units – constitute the pillar of power in Egypt?
I think that until now the army has been neutral. It is protecting public institutions and defending legitimacy. But up to now, we can say it’s accepted that legitimacy is on the side of those in the street and with the population, and that President Mubarak’s legitimacy has collapsed.
Whatever it is, the army is the pillar of this state, and Egyptians are still unanimous on the need to change the regime and their president without destroying the state or dissolving the army and reproducing the chaos that Iraq has known.
Mr Amr Echchoubaki, the Muslim Brotherhood are used as something to scare foreign powers. What will their role be in tomorrow’s reconstruction of Egypt?
The Muslim Brotherhood are part and parcel of the Egyptian political scene. We need to build the new political system with them. There are commitments that the Muslim Brotherhood should make to show that they respect the rules of the civil state and of democracy. Among them, developing a political party which commits to respecting the civil constitution and the republican system. In the past, the regime has prevented the Muslim Brotherhood from founding such a party, to use them as a scarecrow to strike fear in the west and in the United States, and to make people believe all the time that Mubarak is the only alternative to the Muslim Brotherhood. This is quite obviously not true, and this revolution has shown that a third option exists which represents the majority of Egyptians who want to live in dignity and to build a democratic and modern state like all countries in the world. The Muslim Brotherhood in this context has become a movement which in my opinion represents no more than 15 to 20 percent at the most.
Mr Amr Echchoubaki, thank you.