Monday, August 27, 2012

Mursi’s Attempt to Embrace the “Team of Rivals” Concept

BBC News just ran a report suggesting that Mohammed Mursi, the new President of Egypt, is willing to embrace that same “Team of Rivals” concept that Barack Obama saw in Abraham Lincoln’s cabinet and attempted to apply to his own:
Egyptian leader Mohammed Mursi has appointed a Christian intellectual, a female university professor and two Islamists as presidential assistants.
Samir Murqus, a liberal Coptic writer, was named assistant for democratic transition, officials announced.

Pakinam al-Sharkawi, who teaches political sciences at Cairo University, will be in charge of political affairs.
The Islamists are the following:
Imad Abdul Ghafour, the head of the ultraconservative Salafist Nour party, is in charge of relations with civil society, while Issam al-Haddad of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, will look after external relations and international co-operation.
In addition Mursi is forming an “advisory team” whose initial members were named in the same report:
They include former presidential candidate Mohammed Salim al-Awwa, Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam al-Aryan, political expert Seif al-Din Abdul Fattah and writer Sekina Fouad.
Personally, I am hoping that Mursi is more sympathetic to Lincoln’s principle than Obama was. The fact is that in the Obama team, where diversity was most needed, in dealing with the economic crisis, there seemed to be little attention to giving serious “rivals” a level playing field. Egypt is in an even more delicate position, since it still has to work out a new constitution.

Nevertheless, I feel it is important that Mursi has attached significance to the need to allow different voices to speak; and, if he can keep the speaking from deteriorating into a shouting match (which has been the sad fate of our own country), then he may be the sort of leader that Egypt (if not the rest of the Middle East) currently needs in these difficult times.

No comments: