Egypt

Just when you thought that the US presidential debates were too much to handle, Egypt goes the extra step and allows thirteen candidates run for president.

Among the thirteen running is Ahmed Shafiq who was the last prime minister under the ousted former President Hosni Mubarak.  Other members of the former President’s cabinet are Amr Moussa who was the foreign minister and Arab League chief and Mohammed Morsi who is representing Egypt’s most powerful political group, Muslim Brotherhood.

Currently, the elections are set for May 23-24.  One of the candidates must win over 50% of the vote to win the election however, if no one reaches 50% of the votes, there will be a runoff election on June 16-17 between the top two candidates.  The new president will be named on June 21st.

It has been a messy year for the North African country as turmoil and instability held the nation hostage.  Once the former President Mubarak stepped down, Egypt’s generals took over of the country and many people thought that the military was going to take over the government and then hand it over to the people.

However, the generals’ tenure resulted in widespread chaos.  As civilian uprisings intensified and pro-democracy protestors took to the streets, troops and police used deadly force to break up any signs of a possible coup.  In the process, Egypt’s economy took a nose dive as there was no official government during the time.

Egypt set off a string of civilian uprisings within countries in Northern Africa and the Middle East.  Two of the best examples are Libya and Syria.  The Libyan uprising was successful for the rebel forces, who were assisted by NATO, in bringing down the ruthless dictator, Muammar Gaddafi (and leaving a power vacuum with the potential for civil war).

Syria on the other hand is a different story.  Western nations are now pondering an intervention as the Syrian government continues to fire and kill protestors within the country, even after the cease fire call by the UN.  Unfortunately, the West is strapped for cash along with combat fatigue from fighting two major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, intervention in Libya and not to mention a weak economic recovery at home.