Egyptians Want More Control Over Their Lives

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The protestors who continue to gather in Cairo and other Egyptian cities want civilian control of the country and a shorter timeline for next year's presidential election.

Earlier this month, police clashed with the demonstrators -- many of them Islamists. When authorities tried to clear them from Tahrir Square at least 24 people were killed.

Just days before historic parliamentary elections, Egyptians said they want more control over their daily lives.

"We want Egypt to move on. Whether it's run by Islamist Shariah law or by a civilian party," one protestor said.

Egyptians claimed little has changed for them since the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak last winter. The economy has gotten worse and many people are struggling to pay their bills.

Samuel Tadros, a research fellow at the Hudson Institute, placed the blame on Egypt's defacto leader, Mohammed Tantawi and the supreme council of the armed forces.

"In a sense there was never a Mubarak regime. It's the same military dictatorship that has been ruling Egypt since 1952 with its control of the Egyptian economy. These guys are basically clueless on how to run the country on a daily basis," Tadros explained.

Nor do they really want to run it. Tadros said the army leadership wants to rule the country, but not govern it.

Day to day matters will be left to whichever party gains the most seats in the parliamentary elections. So far, because secular parties are disorganized and weak, it looks like the better organized, stronger Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party may win a plurality of votes.

Egyptian electoral districts are drawn to favor the countryside where people are poor and less educated. That's where the Muslim Brotherhood has had its greatest influence.

Some Egyptians said the Brotherhood and other Islamists have tried to gain votes by providing the rural poor with food just days before the election. Secular candidates also claimed there's been corruption, saying some election officials have offered to provide them with fraudulent election ballots in exchange for money.

Several pre-election polls suggest the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party will likely receive at least 35 percent of the vote. Each of the secular parties are polling between 2 and 5 percent.

That may not bode well for Egypt's Christians who make up only about 10 percent of the population. Many fear attacks against may increase if the Brotherhood and its allies control the government.

"Egypt might turn out to be democratic, who knows. It might turn out to be more economically prosperous. But it definitely will not turn out to be more hospitable to its Christians," Tadros told CBN News.

As a result, another exodus of from the land of the pharaohs may occur. This time, it may be the Christians, not the Hebrews fleeing Egypt -- a country that has been home to Christianity for nearly 2,000 years.

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CBN News
Gary Lane

Gary Lane

CBN News Sr. International Correspondent

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