As much of the world remains focused on Muammar Qaddafi, Ibrahim Sharqieh offers a look at the current situation in the Middle East beyond Libya. Sharqieh shares his insights in an interview with Patt Morrison of Southern California Public Radio.
Patt Morrison: First, let’s look at Egypt, where there was the first real election with real choices in a long time.
Ibrahim Sharqieh: That is true. This is very historical by all standards. The people are so excited about it. The entire region is excited about it. It hasn’t happened in a very long time. Probably over 50 to 60 years. So the success of holding a real election for the first time in 50 years in Egypt has been historical by all standards. And this is going to set a standard for the entire region. For the first time, we are getting real results.
Morrison: What are the new amendments [to Egypt’s political process] designed to do?
Sharqieh: Basically, [their purpose is] to relax the standards that were set by the National Democratic Party in the past, that allowed only certain individuals that meet a certain standard [to run for election]. Candidates had to be approved by the parliament and the ruling party itself – the National Democratic Party. So from now on, we should have more free elections and many more people will be able to run for free elections as they wish.