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More than 50 percent of AUCians favor ElBaradei for president

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Clockwise from top left: El Baradei, El Awa, Bastaweesi, Moussa

First published in The Caravan on Sunday October 23, 2011

Over 72 percent of AUC students polled by The Caravan said they intended to vote in Egypt’s upcoming parliamentary elections in November. Some 73 percent, said they would vote in presidential elections.

Almost 75 percent of students said they followed political analysis and discussions in the media with 17 percent classifying themselves as “very politically aware” and a further 58 percent saying they were “somewhat politically aware.”

As elections draw nearer, one political party stands out with over 30 percent of students who say they identify with or intend to vote for the liberal Free Egyptians Party co-founded by business tycoon Naguib Sawiris.

“I like the Free Egyptians. They are a liberal party that advocates social freedoms and they believe in market values which would lead to Egypt’s development,” Omar El Sheikha, a computer science sophomore, told The Caravan.

“Among all the new parties, I see them as the ones who are doing the most work on the ground, advertising and getting their name out there,” he added.

The Egyptian Social Democratic Party trailed in second with over 10 percent while over nine percent said they would support far-left socialist and communist parties.

Five percent said they supported the centrist Justice Party and only three percent support the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party.

Around 27 percent of students did not support any of the 23 parties listed.

There was less indecision regarding presidential candidates, with more than 50 percent saying they identify with or would vote for former Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency and Nobel laureate Mohamed ElBaradei.

Former Arab League secretary general Amr Moussa garnered over 13 percent of the AUC vote in our poll while five percent picked reformist judge Hesham el-Bastawisi.

Mariam Hamad, a political science senior, told The Caravan she intended to vote for ElBaradei in the presidential elections because he was the only person who really opposed the Mubarak regime from the start, even before the January 25 uprising.

“ElBaradei provides Egypt with a vision of the future that is very progressive but at the same time moderate. Other candidates I see have the same mentality as the old regime. I think he provides this new insight that is much needed at the moment,” Hamad said.

“It would have been nicer if he were younger but these are the options we have and out of all of them I think he is the best,” she added.

Islamist candidates Mohammad Salim Al-Awa and Hazem Salah Abu Ismail received three and two percent respectively.

Almost 17 percent did not express support for any of the candidates.

Mohamed Sami El-Masry, an economics sophomore, said he identifies with Al-Awa because of his Islamic leanings.

“I believe he is a thinker and has written a lot of books on Islamic thought. He is a strong man, but at the same he is not a dictator,” El-Masry told The Caravan.

“He is a lawyer which is important [. . .] we are at a time where we need men of law because the state is in a legal void and at the same time he has political experience,” he added.

Most students do not believe in a religious state with almost 50 percent saying [that] religion should play no role in politics.

Hamad believes the state should be completely separate from religion. She feels that religion is interpreted differently from one era to another depending on social circumstances.

“For there to be an equitable and social system there has to be a system that is fair to everyone. You can’t have a country that has a Muslim majority and a Christian minority and then ask them to follow your rules. That is undemocratic,” she said.

Around 33 percent of students polled believe the morals and guidelines of religion should influence politics, and only two percent believed the countries political system should be completely based on religion.

“I believe that the state, and its laws, should be based on the general principles of religion because these principles benefit society. Politicians should also adhere to the morals and ethics of religion,” Sami told The Caravan.

He believes that there is a phobia of religion mixing with politics and that it is not something to fear.

“We should just treat [religion] as a source of legislation and that the majority are electing politicians to legislate on the basis they see fit. Personal laws would only be applied to Muslims, non-Muslims have the right to choose not to be subjected to them,” he said.

“The general principles of Islam are accepted by the entire society, even non-Muslims,” he added.

As for the economy, 40 percent of the polled students believe the state should be expected to regulate the market and offer some sort of re-distribution of wealth.

Over 25 percent said they believed the freer the market, the freer the people, while just seven percent said the state should plan and control the economy.

“If you have a free market that is self-regulating, as long as there are laws against fraud and corruption, then you will create more jobs and wealth will trickle down,” El Sheikha told The Caravan.

Hamad disagrees. She believes there should be a balance and that the market needs to be regulated, but that the state should not have absolute control over the economy.

“If you give the state too much control it will ultimately be corrupt and undemocratic. If you give the private sector, which has not even been elected too much control then that is even more corrupt and undemocratic,” she said.

“For there to be a balance, both have to exist. Yes you can have this capitalist model everyone loves but you have to regulate it because it needs to be manipulated in a way that makes it more about equity than just efficiency because efficiency is not enough to have a fair system.”

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Written by Ahmed Aboulenein

October 24, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Posted in AUC, Student Journalism

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