Coming in this time in Egypt is very interesting, between the French and Egyptian presidential election!
Walking in the streets, everybody asks you “where you from”, I answer “France”. The reaction is then “Sarkozy out, good!” It is pretty clear that the very right politic of the former French president was not very loved in the Muslim countries! The “hyper president” deciding on everything might have damaged the French Diplomacy quite a lot!
On the other side, The Egyptians are going to vote for their next president on the 23th of May. With the friends I met, we had many opportunities to speak about the different candidates.
Those from the Islamic movements as the Muslim Brotherhood used to be popular. They came into the parliament in the previous election and lost a lot of their credibility. Some candidates from this wing partially want to cut the country from outside, forbid English at school or limit the tourism, so now almost nobody want them! Egypt’s economy is highly dependent on tourism! And the last 15 months after the revolution created chaos in the country. The Egyptians told me the situation is worse than before (under Mubarak leadership). And it seems to frighten the foreigners. While many touristic sites are supposed to be full with waiting queues, I got always directly through, never waiting! In the South, it is however already the low season because the summer is simply to warm there. Let’s hope for Egypt the new president will bring stability and the tourism will start again in September/October!
Among the other candidates, some are liberal, left wing or with some revolution inspiration. It is much easier to criticize than to build a project together! These candidates are too “spread out”, and according to the Egyptians I spoke with, these candidates are not likely to be elected!
Most of them think it is going to be one candidate from the previous Mubarak government; the former foreign minister might be the one!
A left wing candidate came in Luxor the day I was here, and was going to see his speech, but after more than one hour waiting in the evening, I finally went back to my hotel without seeing him (woke at 5 am the day after)
With the few tourists, the guards in the touristic places have not much to do. Seems to be a pretty boring job, but as state employees, they are probably happy to have a safe job while so many other people are unemployed. Anyway, they had pretty intense political discussions together, as Hamdy told me in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor.
Back in Cairo, I met a Quebecois being here for his PhD thesis about the Muslim Brotherhood in the 70s. Being financed by Saudi Arabia, they are economically liberal as SA and politically dependent on the USA. The USA used to sponsor all armies in the Middle East again the socialism. In Egypt, they give the power to the Army who will anyway keep it, either if an Islamic or former Mubarak follower is elected! The main issue with this theory is how the masses who hear and the pro Islam speeches would make pressure on their politics…