Ed Husain

The Arab Street

Husain examines politics, society, and radicalism in the greater Middle East.

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The Week Ahead: Libya Votes, Syrian Opposition Seeks Common Ground, Kuwait’s Uncertainty Continues

by Ed Husain
July 2, 2012

Protesters set fire to voting materials after storming the office of the national election commission in Benghazi (Esam el-Fatori/Courtesy Reuters). Protesters set fire to voting materials after storming the office of the national election commission in Benghazi (Esam el-Fatori/Courtesy Reuters).

Egypt. The constituent assembly continues to meet this week to discuss the writing of Egypt’s new constitution. Although the military’s constitutional decree—issued before the presidential election—has left the assembly’s future in doubt, members are moving forward to form subcommittees covering topics such as basic constitutional principles, rights and freedoms, system of government, and regulatory bodies.

Kuwait. The process of forming a new government will begin in Kuwait this week after Kuwaiti emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah accepted the resignation of all cabinet members. Current ministers will remain in place as a caretaker government until the new cabinet is formed.

Libya. Elections for Libya’s constituent assembly are to be held this Saturday, July 7, but the ability of Libya’s transitional government to manage the elections is in doubt. Weekend attacks on election commission offices in Benghazi and Tobruk—led by protesters angry over the distribution of assembly seats—have exacerbated general concerns over the commission’s capabilities and organization. Meanwhile, the Libyan militia that detained a delegation of ICC officials for several weeks released them today following an apology from the court.

Palestine. In Gaza, voter registration scheduled to begin on Tuesday has been suspended by Hamas. Citing a number of security “obstacles,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that registration would commence when Hamas’ ability to register voters and monitor election committee activities had been restored. Fatah members, meanwhile, accused Hamas of deliberately delaying the Palestinian reconciliation process.

Syria. Opposition groups are meeting in Cairo this week to outline possibilities for political transition in Syria. Members of the opposition, including former SNC leader Burhan Ghalioun, called the agreement reached by the UN Action Group for Syria (which includes UK, China, France, Russia, the United States, Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, and Qatar) in Geneva over the weekend a “mockery” for its recommendation that former regime members be included in a Syrian “unity” government. The Free Syrian Army and some other opposition groups are boycotting the meeting in Cairo.

The Arab Street will be on vacation through July 15.

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