MENAFN - Arab News
Egypt instability won't end with referendum
(MENAFN - Arab News) Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi will certainly succeed in pushing through a new constitution in a weekend referendum, analysts say - but his battle with the opposition is far from over.
The Arab world's most populous nation is looking at prolonged instability that will undermine Mursi's prospects of governing and badly hurt an economy tottering on the brink of disaster, observers warned.
Weeks of protests and missteps by Mursi have weakened the president's authority and split the nation into two camps: One supporting the ruling Islamists, and one backing an opposition coalition of disparate forces united essentially by their fierce anti-Mursi stance.
"Of course, the constitution will be adopted" in a second-round referendum on Saturday, Hani Sabra, an analyst at the Eurasia group, said in a media note.
But "the referendum results will also fuel the confrontation between the Brotherhood and the non-Islamist opposition," he said.
"This confrontation, played out through protests, strikes and clashes between rival supporters and police will make governing even more difficult. This will be compounded by the ongoing battle between the bureaucracy and the presidency."
Opposition rallies against Mursi and the draft constitution have ebbed this week, as attention has turned to the referendum.
The opposition coalition, the National Salvation Front, after initial hesitation over whether to boycott, has urged voters to reject the new charter drafted mainly by Mursi's Islamist allies, saying it will open the way to Shariah-style strict Islamic law.
Unofficial tallies showed 57 percent of voters in the first round backing the draft constitution, though turnout was a low 30 percent and the opposition claimed numerous instances of polling fraud.
The margin is expected to grow in the second round to seal the text's adoption, but by a smaller margin than Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood had been banking on.
Hostility to the charter is the principal issue holding together the broad coalition of leftwing, liberal, secular and Christian groups.
"The question is: If the Brothers win, will the opposition give up and say it did what it could? Or will it go into the streets calling for a bigger mobilization in the future?" asked analyst Hassan Nafaa of the Ahram Centre.
An adoption of the charter would trigger new polls, setting the scene for more demonstrations - and renewing the ideological debate over whether the country should become more Islamist.
"What is developing in Egypt is the ideological battle of the decade," said Paul Sullivan, a professor specializing in Egypt and the Middle East at Georgetown University in the United States.
While most Egyptians see themselves as pious Muslims, the Brotherhood and the more radical Salafists want the country to adopt their views, he said in an analysis published on the Global Experts website. "In many ways what we may be seeing in Egypt is a clash of interpretations of Islam, or even a clash of civilizations within Egypt," Sullivan said. One of the first casualties of the continued turmoil could be Egypt's economy, which has slowed dramatically in the aftermath of the February 2011 revolution that toppled veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak and not yet recovered.
Gross domestic product is expected to grow a meager 2.0 percent this year and 3.0 percent in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund - less than half the performance recorded pre-revolution.
Unemployment is over 12 percent, around 40 percent of Egypt's 83 million citizens lives on the equivalent of two dollars or less per day, and the central bank's foreign reserves have plunged by more than half since early 2011 to less than 15 billion today. The IMF last week put on hold a proposed 4.8 billion loan Cairo needs to prevent devastating devaluation of Egypt's currency, frightening investors.
The EU ambassador to Egypt, James Moran, said that Egypt's eroding reserves "is a worry obviously for the government and also for us."
Up to 2.7 billion the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was mulling to invest in Egypt's private sector over the next couple of years could be affected, he said.
MENA News Headlines
|Mar 9 2014||Libya separatists load NKorea oil ship and ignore warning ,AFP|
(MENAFN - AFP) Libyan separatists loaded oil onto a North Korean tanker for a second consecutive day on Sunday, ignoring the central government's threats of military action, an industry official ...|
|Mar 9 2014||UAE's Al Hamra launches USD272 m project ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) UAE's Al Hamra Real Estate Development has announced the opening of the USD 272 million Falcon Island project in Ras Al Khaimah, according to Khaleej Times.
The new project aims to ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Oman aims to increase non-oil exports by 15 percent ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Oman is aiming to increase the value of its non-oil exports by 15 percent this year, Times of Oman reported.
The Director of Export Development at Ithraa said that Oman's exports of ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Oman's government revenue drops 7.9 percent ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Oman's National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) said that the country's government revenues dropped 7.9 percent in January, Times of Oman reported.
The NCSI said that ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Oman's foreign trade up 9.1 percent ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Statistics released by the Omani National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) show an increase in the Sultanate's foreign trade, Times of Oman reported.
The data show that the ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Dubai-based Deyaar plans USD245m residential, hotel project ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) UAE-based Deyaar Development announced its plan to build a residential and hotel project in Dubai, Arabian Business reported.
The project, at a total cost of USD245 million, will consist ...|
|Mar 9 2014||UAE's Jumbo plans expansion ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) UAE-based retail electronics giant Jumbo Group announced that it plans to expand its engineering and B2B businesses as well as its retail footprint in the GCC, India and Iran, Arabian ...|
|Mar 9 2014||New fashion company plans IPO in Dubai ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) A retailing company still being formed is planning for its first initial public offering (IPO) on Dubai's main stock market in five years, Arabian Business reported.
The company will ...|
|Mar 9 2014||UAE's du signs agreement with international telecom companies ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) du, the Middle East"s fastest growing telecom service provider, has joined an international consortium that includes several telecom companies to build South East Asia - Middle East -Western ...|
|Mar 9 2014||UAE's RTA wins USD27 m contract ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) UAE's Board of Directors of the Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has won a contract to construct and collector internal roads at Al Barsha South 1 and Al Barsha South 2, according to the ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Dubai's Emirates to sign off USD76 b deal with Boeing ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) Dubai"s Emirates said it will cancel its USD76 billion purchase of Boeing 777X wide-body planes for reasons, such as performance guarantees, according to Arabian Business.
The order ...|
|Mar 9 2014||La Liga Preview: Real Madrid v Levante ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Carlo Ancelotti's side rescued a 3-2 win at Estadi Ciutat de Valencia in October with stoppage-time goals from Alvaro Morata and Cristiano Ronaldo.
They will enter this weekend's ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Steyn, Johnson absent for T20 series ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Mitchell Johnson has been rested for the three-match series, returning to Australia ahead of the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
Dale Steyn battled through South Africa's third Test ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Lee, Son progress to Birmingham last four ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Malaysia's Lee thrashed Japan's Kento Momota 21-14 21-18 in their quarter-finals at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham.
He will face Son Wan Ho in the last four after the ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Copa Libertadores Preview: Atletico Mineiro, Velez Sarsfield near progression ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Both teams have claimed two wins from as many games in their groups and a third € halfway through the stage € would set them up nicely.
Mineiro have edged their way to the top of ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Davids: Del Piero should delay coaching plans ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora)
The Sydney FC star, 39, is nearing the end of his career and is yet to re-sign with the A-League club, having been linked with another move to Asia.
Davids, who played alongside ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Blanc confirms Cavani will miss Bastia trip ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora)Cavani returned to Uruguay earlier in the week for personal reasons and will not be back in time for Saturday's match.
The 27-year-old has scored 14 goals in 22 league appearances ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Barca are not in decline, Xavi insists ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) Barca secured three La Liga titles, two Copa del Rey medals and twice won the UEFA Champions League under the stewardship of former coach Pep Guardiola,
Tito Vilanova carried on ...|
|Mar 9 2014||UAE's Majid Al Futtaim sign agreement with HCT ,MENAFN|
|(MENAFN) UAE-based retail giant Majid Al Futtaim and Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) have signed an agreement to launch a retail academy and industry consortium, according to Arabian ...|
|Mar 9 2014||Northampton book Anglo-Welsh Cup final spot ,Kora|
|(MENAFN - Kora) George Pisi was the star of the show for the 2010 winners at Franklin's Gardens as he completed a hat-trick in the second half to complete a comfortable victory.
Saracens struggled ...|