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Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Dear Dr. Morsy. My Conditions for Voting for You.


I am not afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood .

I don't believe you plan to turn Egypt into Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia and force my daughter to wear the veil. I don't believe that you will differentiate between Egyptian Copts and Egyptian Muslims. I don't buy that you will start a war with Israel or ignore Egypt's international commitments. It doesn't bother me at all that you were your party's second choice and I have no worry that the country will be run by the Murshed. None of these threats, for various reasons, rings true for me.

Furthermore, I am convinced that, with very few exceptions, all your party's changes of direction, actions -and  inactions - over the past 18 months were based on logical reasoning (albeit flawed at times) and were carried out with some tactical or political objectives in mind. I am even not unhappy about your cutting the odd deal with SCAF.

I am convinced that all but the most naive will not classify your behaviour as lies, treason to the revolution or broken promises.

I don't blame you and your party for chasing power. Which politician or party on earth doesn't?

You're simply playing the game. That doesn't bother me.

So you see Dr. Morsy, I am not even slightly Ikhwanophobic.

Yet, I cannot simply vote for you.

I cannot risk handing over so much power to one person and his group.

I am concerned that one body, no matter how benevolent, no matter how well-intended, will be in control of parliament and presidency. I understand that you will not immediately have much influence over SCAF/army, the Ministry of Interior, intelligence, judiciary and state media. But that is just a matter of time.

At the same time, I cannot with a clear conscience vote for Mr. Shafik. Not under any circumstances. Not if he were running alone.Not if he were running against the devil himself.

I am not yet convinced that boycotting or annulling are wise options. But , they may become appealing or unavoidable, unless a better option appears.

This better option is to vote for you under specific conditions.

Actions. Not promises.

Promises and assurances are no more solid or binding than political stances which, we all know, may, and sometimes must, change with circumstances.

Here are my conditions and please note, there is not much time:

1. Announcing the names of the 100 people who will form the constitution committee prior to the runoffs. These hundred people should include no more than 15 MB/FJP members and no more than an additional 5-10 parliamentarians. The rest should all be non-MB, non FJP, non Islamist. They must include constitutional experts of course, but also Copts, Nubians, Bedouins, women, revolutionaries, army and police officers, farmers' representative and union officials. It should probably include representatives of the Churches and Azhar too. This list must be announced to the people and guaranteed by SCAF.

2. Announcing, from Tahreer to the Egyptian people, SCAF, MB leadership and MB youth that in case you win, you will appoint the second and third runners up in the presidential elections as Vice Presidents, regardless of who they are. Yes, even if Mr. Shafik is number two, you must commit to appointing him as one of your Vice Presidents. If he rejects, then you must go to the next two candidates. The guarantee of this announcement will be a document you present to the Higher Constitutional Court and/or SCAF, signed by yourself and MB/FJP leadership committing to this and granting SCAF the right to enforce it.

I understand this is difficult, but please remember that even if the disenfranchisement law is not passed, even if Mr. Shafik accepts your offer and even if some of your supporters are angered by such a commitment  Mr. Shafik garnered 5 million votes in the first round which need to be respected and that you will tap into the votes of the third and fourth runners up who, in case Mr. Shafik refuses your offer prior to the runoffs, will both become Vice Presidents in case you win.

3. In the same document and with the same guarantees, you will declare that no decisions you make regarding all matters, may pass without the approval of at least one of your Vice Presidents. Similarly, no decisions regarding the constitution, national security and international treaties may be signed without the approval of both your Vice Presidents.

4.  Announcing the names of four or five non-MB/FJP technocrats, one of whom you commit to appoint as Prime Minister. The guarantee of this is negotiable but may be inclusion in the afore-mentioned document.

These four actions would give me (I speak here collectively for the millions of us who do not want Shafik but worry about an Egypt exclusively led by the MB) the comfort to go out and vote for you.

I would be comfortable that you will not (because you cannot) write a "majority" constitution, that you are willing to share power with two other presidential candidates who some 50% of Egypt has voted for, that there are checks and balances in place to correct you when you make mistakes and that you have done your level best to give me these assurances.

Clock ticking. Your move.