Egypt gets a chance

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi‚Äôs public apology for ‚Äúmistakes‚ÄĚ in drafting the new Islamist constitution augurs well for hard-fought democracy in the country, which till not so long ago was being ruled with an iron hand by now-disgraced dictator Hosni Mubarak, who has been shuttling between a high-security prison and military hospital.

Amendments to the constitution were voted in by a majority of less than one-third of voters who turned up to participate in a referendum over two days earlier this month, which goes to suggest that the Opposition’s charge that the vote was not truly representative may not be totally unfounded. Already, a third of the membership of the council has been filled up with Mr Morsi’s nominees. Nevertheless, the chance for peace and stability prevailing can be rated high, which would allow the President and the Muslim Brotherhood tend to the job of fixing the weak economy.
The fear is real that the shura council, that will temporarily be able to pass laws until a new Parliament is elected in the next two months, may not be inclined to protect freedom of expression and religion or the rights of women and the minorities. But if Mr Morsi’s promise of greater transparency, as spelt out in his latest speech, actually materialises, Egypt might just move forward from divisive clashes between the Muslim Brotherhood and its opponents that marked the post-referendum phase, and led to the death of eight people and injuries to 600 demonstrators outside Mr Morsi’s presidential palace earlier this month.

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