Democracy spreads… to Egypt now

Democracy spreads… to Egypt now

: Big news from Egypt: Hosni Mubarek is opening the first multicandidate (read: real) elections:

President Hosni Mubarak opened the door on Saturday to multi-candidate presidential polls in Egypt, a dramatic move welcomed by Washington and opposition groups as a step toward more open government.

Analysts described his televised announcement, heralding the first contested polls since the 1952 fall of the monarchy, as a response to both U.S. reform calls and an increasingly vocal domestic opposition, emboldened by Washington. Cairo is uneasy about U.S. campaigning for democratic change in the region….

State Department spokesman Steven Pike welcomed the development, which came a day after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice postponed a visit to Egypt.

Even Armando at Daily Kos graciously annoints this good news: “The Bush Administration will feel, and with some justification, a measure of satisfaction.” He continues to ask Eeyore cautious questions about how good the election will be. Of course, there is much work ahead. American officials are officially cautious, as well they should be. (UPDATE: Poliblogger adds more cautions.) Hell, the most likely opponent was jailed (more here). Egypt is hardly enlightened overnight. But the pressure of the people and what’s happening in the neighborhood and from America — witness Condi’s cancelled trip — is being felt. It’s a step.





Democracy is spreading. Democracy must spread.

: Haaretz, too, sees good news here:

Something “dangerous” is happening to public opinion in several Arab countries: It is beginning to chalk up more and more victories. Last week, the Lebanese public pushed Syria to announce its intention to withdraw from Lebanon. Last year, Saudi public opinion and American pressure generated a public discussion of human rights in the monarchy. And yesterday, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak laid the foundation for Egypt’s democratic revolution, no less.

: LATER: I at first called Aramando’s questions Eeyore questions. That wasn’t fair and I quickly changed it (but left the evidence). Give Armando full credit for giving even this administration credit for having something to do with this. And, yes, there’s no reason to think that Mubarek is going to be holding election coffees. But it is good news.

: SUNDAY UPDATE: The punchline according to Global Octopus:

Of course, it has nothing to do with US policy. All the credit goes to Jacques Chirac and Kofi Annan.