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Egypt's opposition still hopeful, despite many defeats

Egypt's opposition has been notoriously disorganized and unable to rally its supporters. However, it may have finally been beaten badly enough to overcome its troubles. 

An Egyptian flowers vendor reads a newspaper in Cairo, Dec. 27. The official approval of Egypt's disputed, Islamist-backed constitution held out little hope of stabilizing the country after two years of turmoil and Islamist President Mohammed Morsi may now face a more immediate crisis with the economy falling deeper into distress.

Amr Nabil/AP

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When a controversial constitutional draft went to a vote earlier this month, the Egyptian opposition was, as usual, in disarray.

It waffled for weeks between boycotting the referendum and calling for a no vote. When it finally chose the latter only days before the first round of voting on Dec. 15, it was too late to overcome the Muslim Brotherhood and their salafist allies’ strong campaign for a "yes."

But the backlash facing President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood for rushing the constitution through without input from the opposition has given his opponents new hope for electoral success. 

“The divisions are a thing of the past now and we have Mr. Morsi to thank for that,” says Mostafa El Guindi, who was an independent member of the now-dissolved parliament and played a role in organizing the main facets of the opposition into a new coalition, the National Salvation Front.

“The marriage between ElBaradei and Hamdeen Sabahi is now fact,” he says, referring to two politicians with often clashing policies. That the Nobel prize winner and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohammed ElBaradei, and Hamdeen Sabahi, the leftist candidate who came in a surprising third in June’s presidential elections, have come together shows the strength of the determination to create a united front against the Brothers.

This gives the opposition new hope heading towards parliamentary elections which, according to Egyptian law, must happen within two months of the approval of the constitution. 


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