The recent wave of demonstrations in Cairo clearly illustrated the level of public dissatisfaction with the status quo and how much the Egyptian people are concerned about the likelihood of military interference in the upcoming presidential election.
The military’s insistence on maintaining its grip on power, even after the completion of the transitional period, is the main reason behind the demonstrations of the past few days. In other words, the people are expressing the view that the era of military rule is over and power should be transferred to a democratically elected government as soon as possible.
Backed by the Egyptian parliament, which is dominated by Islamists, the people are pressing their demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Kamal Ganzouri and his interim government.
Egyptians are very concerned that the military may try to remain in power after the election. According to the constitution, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) must hand over power to a democratically elected government right after the election results are announced.
In addition to these national issues, there are some minor disputes regarding the disqualification of some candidates.
Followers of the Salafist Al-Nour party are still angry about the Higher Presidential Election Committee’s decision to disqualify their main candidate, Hazem Abu Ismail. A number of citizens were killed during a demonstration held by Al-Nour party supporters in Cairo’s Abbasiya Square last week.
Some other demonstrators have protested against the decision to approve the candidacy of loyalists of the regime of deposed dictator Hosni Mubarak, such as Amr Moussa and Ahmed Shafiq.
And members of the Muslim Brotherhood have expressed their discontent over the disqualification of their original candidate, Khairat El-Shater, who is the financier of their party.
Observers say that the continuation of demonstrations can deter the generals from interfering in the election and is a good tool for neutralizing their plot to postpone the election.
All in all, it can be said that the recent demonstrations in Cairo provided clear proof of the importance of the upcoming presidential election and the people’s determination to defend their fragile revolution and finally realize their long-deferred dreams for democracy.