A few days before the parliamentary elections are due to commence, the next phase of the Egyptian revolution to establish democracy is gaining another important milestone.  While the security forces have tried to stop the peaceful occupation of Tahrir square, the square has meanwhile been occupied once again by large numbers of Egyptians of all walks of life.  It is as impressive as the first revolution of January 25th which ousted former president Mubarak.  It is truly unique as expression of the examplary resolve to see the goals of the revolution implemented and succeed.  People have come back en masse to complete unfinished business of the revolution.

After a mission to Egypt in July to assess the transitional process, I wrote in a policy brief (see under publications:  Egypt’s Unfolding Transitional Agenda)  ‘’The irony is that one of the pillars of the detested Mubarak regime (the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, SCAF) is now in charge of the process that should dismantle that regime.’

Furthermore, I noted in the policy brief that ‘’ the new social networking generation is particularly strong in Egypt and will continue to play a major role because half of the population is  below the age of 25. It was youth movements – in particular the ‘April 6th’ and Kifaya movements – that triggered the Tahrir revolution and which form the heart of the democracy movement. They expressed the aspirations for the new Egypt and showed extraordinary determination to work towards this goal. It may not be a streamlined movement and the political momentum may have been transferred to the leadership of the political parties and groupings, but the young generation of bloggers remains alert and continues to exert pressure on the SCAF to deliver
on necessary reforms while they stand ready to return to Tahrir square when they feel that the military is not delivering on the demands for democratic reform and the hand-over to a legitimately elected civilian government.’’

They now have returned with the following essential demands:

  • Stepping down of Field Marshal Mohammed Hoessein Tantawi, Chairperson of the SCAF;
  • End of military rule by forming a National Salvation Government, a government that will oversee the transitional
    process under the leadership of respected Egyptians;
  • The SCAF can be represented in this National Salvation Government but with a mandate to ensure the security of
    Egypt and no longer with governing responsibilities:
  • The end of the state of emergency and the use of military courts to try civilians;

Negotiations are currently taking place about these demands.   The credibility of the Egyptian armed forces is at stake.  They proclaimed to be one with the demands of the Egyptian people.  Bu it is clear that the paradox of SCAF being in charge of the process that should dismantle the regime, of which it formed the core, has reached its sell-by date.  The people at Tahrir demand that SCAF delivers on its promise and hands-over government to a civilian transition government to oversee the forthcoming electoral process.  If this is to happen in the coming hours or days – and I expect it to happen –  it shall be a most significant achievement and break-through in the democratic transition process in Egypt.