Middle East analysts have always pointed to the Iranian Revolution as a means of warning against the rise of political Islam. Events in Iran redrew the geopolitical map in the region. Since the January 25 Revolution, politically active Islamist groups have come out of the woodwork and started campaigning ahead of elections in September. Part and parcel of the democratic process, it is still unclear how much power these groups will wield.
A new political parties law recently legislated by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has stirred considerable controversy and given rise to debate with some political pundits describing it as “a step forward and two steps back.”
Some have criticized one clause in the law, which sets a minimum of 5,000 members as a pre-condition for establishing a party, with at least 300 members from 10 governorates, as being too restrictive. Previous pre-conditions stipulated a minimum of 1,000 members.
Professor of political science Samer Soliman says the new law has prospectively made it more challenging for some parties to get off the ground.
“Five thousand for the party is too much,” Soliman said.
Student Union presidential elections will be repeated on May 5 after Thursday's vote resulted in a tie between the two candidates. The vote count revealed that presidential hopeful Ahmed Alaa had a slim lead of nine votes, not enough to declare a conclusive victory against fellow candidate Mohammed Hussein.
The candidates had both been campaigning extensively throughout campus, utilizing text messaging, Blackberry messenger broadcasts, and social media. In keeping with tradition, the candidates also presented their ideas and vision for the new union in a debate on April 14. A third candidate, Ahmed Khalil, withdrew from the elections after the sudden death of Mohammed Badran, an AUC student and one of Khalil’s campaigners.
Alaa, a construction engineering senior, is the current Theatre and Film club president. He has participated in several activities within the SU as well as other clubs, and has been involved with the First Year Experience program (FYE). He was the general manager for Academics committee, a member of the PR and activities committees, and has worked in various university offices, such as as the Office of Student Development (OSD), freshmen advising, Alumni and the Communication and Marketing.
Following mounting pressure from students and alumni, university administration has decided to suspend the naming of the Suzanne Mubarak conference hall as of April 17. The announcement came exactly one month after students forcibly removed the plaque bearing the former First Lady’s name.
The issue had first become a point of conflict when AUC students started an online petition earlier this semester to rename the hall, in light of the January 25 revolution.
A quarrel took place between campaigners for two presidential candidates at the Student Union (SU) elections debate. Some said the situation was on the verge of turning into a full fledged fight, while others described it as an argument between two friends.
“It wasn't a physical fight but it would have reached this if I and some others, hadn’t helped in controlling the situation,” Mohanned Gomaa, current SU president, said.
“Two friends campaigning for different candidates were teasing each other, there was no fight, no problem not even verbally, it was people’s reactions which made it seem so,” Amr Abaza, a member of the Student Judicial Board (SJB) said.The SJB is one of the entities on campus which is responsible for coordinating the SU elections and its debates.
A small student protest at the New Cairo campus Monday demanded the immediate dismissal of a senior security staff member and a student affairs administrator.
Calling for the removal of General Ashraf Kamal, head of the university’s security office, and Mohamed Dabbour, the director of the office of student development (OSD), the protest is seen to be in line with similar demonstrations in nearly all of Egypt's universities.
Taking the initiative to honor Egypt’s “martyrs” during the January 25 uprising, AUC students gath- ered in the plaza in front of the library to pray for the victims’ souls and to honor their sacrifice as they held out against all odds.
Ahmed Saafan, an engineering senior, started this event on Facebook under the name of “In the memory of our blessed Martyrs,” and has also ini- tiated discussions over how AUC students can be engaged with the community.