One-time presidential candidate, and regional statesman, Amr Moussa sat down with the Daily News Egypt to explore the new developments shaping the Egyptian political landscape and voice his concerns regarding the first round of voting that saw Moussa exit the race.
Despite his ouster from the presidential elections, the former candidate is ready to stand behind the next president and told the DNE that the first 100 days of the presidency will be crucial in determining just how effective the president will be in shoring up support in a transitional period plagued by political, economic and social crises.
Can you give us the latest updates regarding the reshaping of the Constituent’s Assembly. You were a member this body, so what are your thoughts on the election of a new body?
There are grave concerns in regards to the most recent developments, especially after the deformation of the Constituent’s Assembly, dissolution of parliament and completion of presidential elections. I disagree with the way the assembly was formed in lieu of the absence of many prominent professors of constitutional law as well as proper representation of women and Copts. I believe there are certain central points where consensus is needed. Therefore, I consider and appreciate the arguments and statements put forth by those who decided to withdraw from the assembly.
The Constituent’s Assembly has to be reshaped. It is a central issue that the new government and the military council will have to take into consideration.
How can Egypt elect a president without a constitution or a parliament?
From the very beginning, I was with the opinion of writing a constitution first then convening a parliament. I have very clearly stated that the political landscape in Egypt is not yet mature, so parliamentary elections should not take place immediately or be the first step towards democracy. I always believed in the reverse order; a constitution, a president and then parliament. But once they decided to have the parliament first, I said its fine, because my real concern is democracy.
I wanted to start with the drafting of the constitution in order to highlight the most basic principles of democracy, the separation of powers and the independence of judiciary. This did not happen. We appointed parliament, which was kind of bad luck to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. The public opinion turned on the parliament, and its election was called into question based on its performance.
Some international media publications and Egyptian figures have considered the latest developments of dissolving the parliament as a ‘complete military coup’. What are your thoughts on those who call it a ‘coup’?
It is a constitutional coup. I cannot say it is a military coup. It is a coup in a sense that there has been a major change.
How do you define a military coup, then?
A military coup is a military coup! It happens when the army imposes itself on the country. That is not the case. The constitutional court is the one that had decided that there is something wrong with the Parliament.
Speaking about the presidential elections, most of the presidential polls were indicating that Dr. Abdel Moneim Fotouh and yourself were the front-runners of the elections. What are the factors you think have affected the results of the first round?
I have plenty of unanswered questions in regards to this. Many people talked about certain plans to undermine this or that candidate but in fact, I prefer not to talk about them and I call upon everyone to believe in the process of democracy and to continue to vote and accept the fact that we have two winners, one of them should win the presidency at the end of this process.
The whole focus should be on the process of democracy and paving the way for the presidential elections to take place. We should focus on writing the constitution and moving on, rather than trading accusations and casting doubts.
But, how do you evaluate the integrity and transparency of the first presidential elections after the revolution, in regards to Egyptians heading to polls who think they are freely choosing their president?
It was not only the issue of polls, but we can talk about polarizations and so many things of that kind, this will take us to an area of casting doubt over the process. I want to avoid talking about this at this stage.
Being an experienced politician and diplomat, how well do you evaluate the diplomatic skills of Ahmed Shafiq and Mohamed Morsi?
I am for a civil state and with the idea that the constitution should be the country’s primary and sole reference. The rule of the law should be the way of life in Egypt. I support whoever is in favour of this concept and commits himself to that principle. But anyway, once the president is elected we will have to give him the benefit of the doubt. We have to wait and see.
How do you evaluate the diplomatic skills of both candidates who have made it to the final of the presidential elections?
We have already chosen to vote for either one of the two candidates. So I think it is too late to talk about their capacities and capabilities! Allow me not to answer that question as I see it’s too late. They are already there and have their own experiences. What we want now is a new leadership. I think all of us are ready to help any of the candidates, if they are on the right track. I believe that the first three months, meaning the first 100 days, are going to be crucial for the public.
Will you accept possible invitations from the new president to be part of the coming government?
I am a citizen who wants and knows that the country has to start working on rebuilding. I know how difficult the task the task will be. I can do that as a citizen, and I am not looking forward to any post. I will help certainly, from my position as a concerned citizen. I want to add that no one has talked to me about any governmental posts and I have not been approached by anyone as well. I don’t expect any of the candidates to approach me.
What about your intentions to establish a political party. Have you taken any steps so far with this regard?
I have received a lot of support from all over the country that this is the moment to form a party. The 2.6 million voters who voted for me are ready to continue in this direction. There is a kind of perception within public opinion that I was the right candidate, so a party will be in good position to begin that process.
Have you got any kind of support of political figures that would like to join the Party?
There has been some interest from heads of political parties such as Al-Wafd party. I am also in contact with 14 or 15 parties that had members of parliament and many parties related to the revolution, also a number of social, economic and political activists. I am also cooperating with the Free Egyptians Party and the Egyptian Socialist Party. I have also been collaborating with Ayman Nour, the head of Ghad al-Thawra Party. Partnership at this stage should be at a wide scale.