(MENAFN - Arab News) Over the past few weeks, as Egyptians debated who would make up the constituent assembly tasked with drafting the country's constitution, the fear factor began rising, with nearly all liberals or leftists now beginning their diatribes of fear over the role of the Islamists in Parliament, and most notably the Muslim Brotherhood.
The question over whether or not the Brotherhood would field a presidential candidate has dominated much of political discussion in recent days, after last week the group announced they were contemplating such a move.
The Brotherhood should not run a candidate in Egypt's upcoming election. The reason being it would stain their record. The group already promised not to have their own candidate last year in the lead-up to the Parliamentary vote. But reneging on this statement, the group would be signaling that it is politics as usual in Egypt, where once a group enters into power, they become almost intoxicated by it and want to maintain and grow their will over the country.
This is exactly what the Free Officers did in the early 1950s, which continues to this day in the form of the military junta. The Brotherhood needs to show Egyptians, both liberals and conservatives, that they are going to change the status quo and build a new political structure based on honesty and openness. Deciding to field a candidate would all but end that hope.
In many ways, for the liberals and activists in the country, who had hoped that a moderate figure, such as former Brotherhood top official Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh would be able to bridge the growing divide between the Islamists and the liberals, an official MB candidate could go a long way in ending those hopes.
"I think where we are at is to simply worry about the future of Egypt and its democracy," one liberal MP told me recently. He argued that if the Brotherhood does put forward a candidate, "it could spell the official end to the revolution and what we had fought for."
Others tend to agree, with activists arguing that at the current moment, the democratic and civil future of Egypt could very well be determined by whether or not a Brotherhood candidate for president is launched.
But the Brotherhood believes it is in their right, and it is, to put a candidate forward, especially since they dominated parliamentary elections.
But those elections did not give the Brotherhood a mandate to rule. It gave them a functioning majority, but in an election where only 51 percent of the country stayed home and didn't cast a ballot, it is important to remember the other 49 percent, many of whom were busy burying victims from recent clashes in November, or caring to the injured. Others were boycotting on principle.
And therein lies the struggle for the Brotherhood. They understand, say experts, that if they do not field a candidate, and the constitution gives solid power to the top job, their current hegemony over Parliament and politics in Egypt, could begin to unravel, especially if an unfriendly candidate, say Aboul Fotouh, is victorious.
But the politicking continues. FJP leaders have a different take on the current situation, arguing that since they announced last year that they would not run a candidate, the country, and its needs have changed.
"We are still fighting for human rights, freedom and the revolution," said Amr Derrag, the Giza chief for the FJP. "But when we said that before we didn't think that our leadership would be required for the presidency, but with the military battling for power, we might need to enter the race."
He argued that the military junta's grip on power could result in an election that Egyptians don't want, which has the Brotherhood leadership concerned over its future power and control over government. Here, he has a point.
The Brotherhood could be the only viable political power in the country able to stand up against the military, and if the military wants to continue to meddle in the civilian government, it could be the Brotherhood's strength that forces them out.
Understandably though activists, who continue to demand an end to military trials, greater freedoms and a civil state, the potential candidacy of a Brotherhood member has stoked fears that Egypt is heading down a path toward conservatism never before seen in its modern history.
Many of the activists I have spoken with recently fear that a Brotherhood president and a Brotherhood Parliament, would be disastrous for the country. One young female university student, Heba, told me that "they would be able to push through anti-Christian and anti-women laws that would not be good."
Despite those fears, Derrag said that "all groups will be respected including women and Christians."
For many Egyptians, the question is to what extent, and for how long?
As we continue to watch the meanderings of politics in Egypt, the only true question that needs to have a clear answer, and which could save the country from the fear-mongering and worries that come with a Brotherhood majority, is "will there be a next election?" If so, then the Brotherhood has to prove to the Egyptian people that it can do the right things, not just say the right things.