Are coalition governments really the answer?
Abdel Moneim Said , Tuesday 13 Mar 2012
I don’t know why it’s difficult for me to process the term forming a coalition government representing all factions. On principle, it’s a noble idea, namely that one party – that will form the government – wants to reassure all other political forces that there is no need for control or hegemony over power, or any other such uncomfortable terms.
There is another facet to this; namely that these political players – in this case the Muslim Brotherhood or the Freedom and Justice Party – want to strengthen national unity and consensus under their leadership. But when unity is genuine and consensus is authentic, then leadership is only symbolic and nothing more.
But this is not the way to draw politics. The elections were not held in order to give one party power to lead and implement its plans through a majority that enables it to lead the nation towards the promised future. Politics by nature is a competitive process to win power, not because it’s a goal in itself but because it is a means to achieve the aspirations of the country.
Hence, a coalition and consensus government that represents all factions is in actuality the weakest form of cabinet because it will not be homogenous; this is not how you do politics. There are vying programmes and visions between the right and left; the civilian, secular and religious; and there are combinations of all these.
Second, because it will become the stage for competition; moving from the public domain to the corridors of executive action. This results in news leaks and the media being used to serve individual political players, even if society’s supreme and ultimate goals are neglected.
Third, a coalition and consensus government is an unstable cabinet because each participating party will view everything as a “matter of principle”, and hence will resign as soon as there is refusal to comply with what they view as correct, principled and corresponding to the tenets of “the goals of the revolution” or “Islamic sharia” – which will be their standard of honour on which they cannot concede or retreat.
What we need is a responsible government supported by a parliamentary majority that has a plan to end Egypt’s current predicament. After that, voters will hold it accountable for its performance. But for goodness sake, you in the Freedom and Justice Party, do not be ashamed of a government that rises from underneath your cloak and implements your plan.
We are waiting with bated breath.