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Becoming a Viable Force

Author: Steven A. Cook, Hasib J. Sabbagh Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies
March 24, 2011
New York Times

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In order for the youth groups — who opposed the package of military-sponsored constitutional amendments that easily passed last week — to become a viable political force, they are going to have to transform themselves from a loose coalition with many leaders to an actual political party or parties that can use their revolutionary legitimacy to organize.

They have much talent, but not a lot of time. In addition, despite their remarkable achievement, Egyptian opposition activists have long been divided along both ideological and personal lines. Different groups or factions will likely have divergent interests and varying tolerances to making compromises and concessions. Indeed, as the political process unfolds there is a risk that the revolutionary youth groups will split and cannibalize each other, undermining their ability to play an influential role in building the new Egypt.

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