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Considering the Talk of the Nation

Posted on the 12 January 2012 by Warigia @WarigiaBowman
Dear readers
I saw this story on NPR.   One Year Later, Arab Spring Still Reverberating  
I like Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, but it felt like she phoned this one in a little bit. It is so hard to do flyby journalism and get it right.
For example, the Muslim Brotherhood did not win a "crushing victory." 45% is not a crushing victory. The Freedom and Justice Party was conservatively expected to get 30% of the vote. They exceeded expectations by 15%.
The lesson here, I think, is that suppressing, or attempting to quash extremist groups is a mistake. This oppression of the MB, which began under Nasser, allowed the group over 50 years to organize and strategy. It is not a surprise that their well oiled machine performed against brand new parties that were formed in March. The new government should take note and allow parties of all brands and stripes, no matter how distasteful, to organize and run.
As my colleague Hamid Ali and I said in a recent editorial in the Daily News Egypt,  A Return to Common Sense Politics the more surprising fact, really is that these brand new parties have done as well as they said. Taken together, as I have mentioned in previous posts, moderate and secular parties won 25% of the vote. That is impressive. Of course, Al Wafd, which I place in the moderate category, was part of the loyal opposition under Mubarak. I was surprised Al Adl did so poorly. I was also surprised that the RCA refused to join the Egyptian Bloc coalition. That is a mistake by the secularists, in my view. In unity, there is strength.
The real test will come when parliament starts operating. There are two crucial issues in my view. The first issue is 1) can the parliament act as an effective check on the executive? and 2) Will parties like the FJP and Al Nour be able to deliver on a platform? Winning is one thing. Delivering is another.

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