26 January 2012, 14:24

Muslim Brotherhood knows how to make politics - expert

Muslim Brotherhood knows how to make politics - expert
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Interview with Christian Wolff, researcher at the Department of Political Science at Friedrich Alexander University in Germany.

With the Muslim Brotherhood now holding a majority in the new Parliament of Egypt how do you think this is going to affect the situation in the political arena in Egypt, or perhaps it does not, because as we all know Muslim Brotherhood has been presented in the political elite before? So, how is it?

Well, I think like the Muslim Brotherhood is a political actor in Egypt that can rely on a great portion of authenticity, because it was always against the regime and therefore it is a kind of resistance. And the Muslim Brotherhood is similar persistent against the authoritarian regime. And in my opinion it is a kind of symbolic line of stability, of security that will guide most of the people through these revolutionary circumstances, because nowadays and last year the situation in Egypt was unstable – everything was changing, nobody knew where it will go and everything and Brotherhood is a kind of stable actor in this process. So, I hope that the Brotherhood will stay moderate and will guard this process of developing a new constitution, and be the actor that reflects or represents most of the Egyptian people.

How do you think they are going to develop their relations with al-Nour Party?

I think they will not come into coalition with al-Nour Party, because al-Nour Party is not the enemy, but they are far more religious than the Muslim Brotherhood definitely is. Al-Nour Party is more or less the radical opposition to the state, and it is not important what kind of state this is, it’s not important if this is an authoritarian state like we had under Mubarak, or if this is a democratic state. They are more or less the radical opposition, and the Muslim Brotherhood wants to be active in the state, they want to develop, they want to change things and they want to participate within the framework of the state. And that is the kind of difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Nour Party. So, I don’t think that they will come together closely. Maybe in some small questions, on some religious issues but they will not work together. And I personally hope that this year’s success for al-Nour Party will just be a short success.

When we were talking about the last general election under Mubarak regime, many experts were telling me that the Muslim Brotherhood was banned, because it had been present at the Parliament before, when they were participating in the election just as independent candidates. So, that might imply that Muslim Brotherhood already has extensive experience in being present at the country’s Parliament.

They do, they are a kind of trained actor in this new democratic game in Egypt, and they know how to make politics, they know how to make election campaigning, that’s why they won on my opinion besides the fact that they have this great authenticity. But, yes, as you told before, they were present in the last Parliament under Mubarak, they were present in the syndicates and everything. So, they know how to play the political game and they always stood in resistance to the regime and tried to play by the rules to overcome the regime.

Well, perhaps that would be the most constructive way to run the situation. But that curious thing for me is that the Egyptian opposition is still quite unhappy with what’s going on despite all the changes that have taken place, and the changes are many.

You know, the day when Mubarak came down people were kind of euphoric and they thought that everything will change from now on. And if we can see throughout the history of revolutions – after the revolution you have to take a long breath, because things change in small steps. And you should not forget that there were 2 million people demonstrating, but there were also about 70 million people staying at home, and those people wanted to have a change and they wanted to have a democratic system, I think, but they also wanted stability, they wanted security. And these 2 million demonstrators, those people that were euphoric for the revolution – they wanted everything in the short and fast line. But I don’t think that you can change a country as big as Egypt in short steps, you have to lower press, you have to have small steps changing the constitution, changing societal circumstances and all this. And you should not forget that since 1954 Egypt was governed by authoritarian rulers. They have to learn how to make democracy and all this, and this must be done by the so called small people, by those people that did not actively participated in the revolutionary process.

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