Transition in Egypt

HAZEM BEBLAWI has stepped aside at a very crucial moment. The Egyptian interim prime minister’s decision to announce the resignation of his government has taken many by surprise and political pundits believe it was a move made in haste.

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Published: Wed 26 Feb 2014, 10:09 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 9:31 PM

How this acts as a catalyst in furthering Field Marshal General Abdel Fateh Al Sisi’s advent on the political canvas as the next head of state is still unclear. No succession decision or timetable has been made public yet, and the upcoming presidential elections are without officially named candidates till this date. Though Sisi had expressed his desire to stand for the highest elected office, the silence that he and his powerful army have been maintaining has made it a nail-biting affair.

Beblawi, the soft-spoken politician who managed the day-to-day affairs of the government, believes that his cabinet had shouldered a very difficult task, and in most cases its performance was good. His exit at a time when the North African Arab country is gripped by chaos and uncertainty is unexplainable. The rise in militancy in Sinai desert is a crucial factor that will come to test the resilience of the nation in the days to come. Beblawi himself acknowledged that Egypt had witnessed a sharp rise in strikes, but also added sarcastically that no government in the world could have fulfilled all the demands of its people in such a short period of time. “The country is facing huge dangers. It is time we stood together to protect it and help it get out of this narrow tunnel,” Beblawi said, as he stood down.

The fact that his resignation came minutes after a meeting between the powerful troika comprising him, the field marshal and interim President Adly Mansour indicates that a formal roadmap is at hand to steer the country out of ad hoc governance. In the next few days, General Sisi is also likely to take off his uniform and run for presidency. Since the exit of president Mohammad Mursi in July, the interim authorities have done a remarkable job in not only restoring normalcy but also strictly implementing the salient features of a transition plan proposed by the military authorities. This is no small achievement. But the point is that Egypt as of now is mired in strikes and the politics of agitation. To further compound the situation, there is the return of the Muslim Brotherhood protesters on Tahrir Square and elsewhere, fomenting instability. Now with the nation having successfully vetted a draft constitution and making room for the next phase of political transition, the authorities in Cairo have to ensure that the upheavals are taken care of in a peaceful manner.

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