Calls for Early Presidential Election on January 25


Activists on Twitter and on the Khaled Said Facebook page are starting to call for early presidential elections by January 25, "or it’s gonna be bad," Mohamed Samir warned from Cairo. On December 18, the Khaled Said Facebook page suggested a radically shortened timeline for the presidential election, starting with polling on January 25, the announcement of results by February 2, and the inauguration on February 11. Less than an hour after the post, 9,266 Facebook followers "liked" the proposal and 6,772 people had shared it with friends. The Facebook group, "We Are All Khaled Said" (كلنا خالد سعيد) was a major rallying point for the original January 25 protest that forced Mubarak’s resignation, and has continued to function as a powerful mobilizing tool and netroots staging ground for anti-government protests in recent months.

The SCAF had promised elections by the end of June 2012, but protesters clearly aren’t willing to wait that long for a transfer of power to civilian leadership. However, it’s hard to see how the movement for expedited elections could overcome the logistical and administrative hurdles posed by the radically abbreviated timeline for transition. A presidential election around January 25 would have to be squeezed in between the last round of People’s Assembly elections on January 3 (followed by a complicated process of calculating proportional party representation) and the start of Shura elections on January 29.  Moving up the presidential election could also reignite a polarizing debate over the timing and substance of Egypt’s new constitution.  An inevitable confrontation — between those who believe that Egypt’s new constitution should be written before the next president takes office, and those who are calling for a presidential election first — has been temporarily simmering on the back burner in the fray of parliamentary elections, but a shakeup of the current transition timeline could reopen this volatile fault line, with unknown consequences.

While the obstacles to organizing a presidential election in just four weeks look virtually insurmountable, the proposal is yet another manifestation of the military’s acute legitimacy crisis.  Whatever political capital and credibility the SCAF once possessed has now been undeniably exhausted.

Mara Revkin is the assistant director of the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East and editor of EgyptSource. She can be reached at

Photo Credit: Facebook

Image: Khaled.jpg