Archive for category Political Islam

“Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to topple UMNO/BN as Federal Government and seven State Governments in Terengganu, Kedah, Perak, Pahang, Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor may be lost if Pakatan Rakyat cannot even survive next month

The biggest news headlines in the past two days have been the RM42 billion 1MDB scandal and its latest edition, the RM188 million 1MDB-Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) bailout with LTH paying 1MDB for 1.56 acres of Tun Razak Exchange (TRX) land at RM2,773 per square foot, which is 43 times more than 1MDB had acquired from the Federal Government four years ago at less than RM64 per square foot.

Events are unfolding at rapid pace in UMNO over the ability of Datuk Seri Najib Razak to survive as Malaysia’s sixth Prime Minister and UMNO President.

Just before coming on stage, for instance, I read on the Internet of the blog by former Law Minister Datuk Zaid Ibrahim about a top secret meeting in Milan between Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and several UMNO bigwigs to discuss his possible takeover as Prime Minister, but Zaid admitted that this information was unverified and he did not know how reliable was his source.

But what is certain is that Najib has declared war on former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir who had asked Najib to resign as Prime Minister on the ground that UMNO/BN will lose the next polls under Najib, as the Prime Minister had for the first time made a fighting speech in Tawau in Sabah vis-à-vis Mahathir’s attacks on him.

All this raises the question, whether UMNO/BN could be toppled in the next 14th General Elections. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tunisia caught between fear and stability

Noureddine Jebnoun
Aljazeera
19 Dec 2014

Tunisia might be making progress with elections, but internal political polarisation is reaching dangerous heights.

The Tunisian transition is perceived as exceptional in the light of the instability in the rest of the region: return of authoritarianism, spread of sectarian and ethnic violence, chaos and civil war. L Carl Brown recently praised the “Tunisian exception” for providing a “less hectic and less bloody revolutionary transition” in the Arab world.

But a closer look at Tunisian politics shows that the perceived exceptionalism of political developments in the country is somewhat overstated and necessitates a more nuanced analysis.

Political fatigue

Three years after Bouazizi’s immolation set off the Arab uprisings, Tunisia is living in the rhythm of elections. Most recently, parliamentary elections where held on October 26, followed by the first round of presidential elections. On December 21, Tunisia will have its presidential runoff between Beji Caid Essebsi of Nidaa Tounes (Call of Tunisia) and the incumbent interim President Moncef Marzouki. The outcome of these elections will provide the country with its first democratically elected permanent institutions.

But as much as the world is praising these elections, Tunisians do not seem as enthusiastic. While the number of registered voters surpassed 5 million out of more than 8.2 million Tunisians of voting age, barely 3.3 million turned up at the voting stations for the first round of the presidential elections. This indicates a low voter turnout particularly among youth, the most disenfranchised social group whose mobilisation was decisive in the fall of Ben Ali’s dictatorship. Read the rest of this entry »

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Political Islam poised to dominate the new world bequeathed by Arab spring

The Muslim Brotherhood’s success in the first round of Egypt’s elections has added to western fears of an Islamist future for the Middle East. But this does not necessarily mean that democracy and liberal policies face extinction

by Peter Beaumont
foreign affairs editor
guardian.co.uk
3 December 2011

Among the potent symbols of the Arab spring is one that has been less photographed and remarked on than the vast gatherings in Tahrir Square. It has been the relocation of the offices of the Muslim Brotherhood, the once banned party, now set to take the largest share of seats in Egypt’s new parliament.

Before May this year they were to be found in shabby rooms in an unremarkable apartment block on Cairo’s Gezira Island, situated behind an unmarked door. These days the Brotherhood is to be found in gleaming new accommodation in the Muqatam neighbourhood, in a dedicated building prominently bearing the movement’s logo in Arabic and English.

Welcome to the age of “political Islam”, which may prove to be one of the most lasting legacies of the Arab spring. It is not only in Egypt that an unprecedented Islamist political moment is playing out. In the recent Tunisian elections the moderate Islamist Ennahda party was the biggest winner, while Morocco has elected its first Islamist prime minister, Abdelilah Benkirane.

In Yemen and Libya, too, it seems likely that political Islam will define the shape of the new landscape.

None of which should be at all surprising. Indeed, if elections in Egypt and Tunisia had been held at any other time in the past two decades, the same result would almost certainly have ensued, reflecting both the levels of organisation of Ennahda and the Brotherhood and the countries’ cultural, economic and social dynamics. Read the rest of this entry »

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