Some seven months after taking power from ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian military junta has announced a schedule for a series of staggered elections, starting in November and running through March, that would ideally end with a transfer of power.
The problem is, many of the demanded reforms aren’t in place yet, and the junta has vowed to keep Mubarak’s “emergency laws” in place through the entire process and into June of 2012, after the new parliament is supposed to be seated.
The move has sparked threats of boycotts from a number of factions, as well as promises of massive Friday protests in Cairo, while the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamist faction which expects to do quite well in the votes, is loudly demanding changes to the election law, including banning those involved in abuse of power from running for election for the next ten years.
The delays have been at the very least somewhat helpful to the smaller reformist groups, which were given somewhat more time to organize. Still, if the election laws remain unchanged many fear that free elections will be impossible and the 2011 Egypt vote will just be another crooked transfer of power.