Little Difference Between Liberal and Islamist Party Supporters on Key Issues
While the hand-wringing in many Western capitals over the defeat of the liberals in favor of Islamists assumes these groups are starkly different on key issues of Western interest, this is likely not the case, according to Gallup's research. Supporters of secular and religious parties are remarkably similar on many of the key questions facing Egypt, from domestic priorities to foreign policy.
Of greatest importance to Egypt's political future is the country's new constitution -- a document that will be drafted under the supervision of a majority-Islamist parliament. Many in the West and in Egypt assume that the result will be a constitution that restricts individual freedoms. While one cannot predict the political calculations of the newly minted politicians, if these political parties responded to their constituents, there would be little to debate. The Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party supporters are at least as likely as those of the Free Egyptians Party, a self-proclaimed liberal group, to favor including fundamental protections for freedom of speech, religion, and assembly in a new constitution.
Suppose that someday you were asked to help draft a new constitution for a new country. As I read you a list of possible provisions that might be included in a new constitution, would you tell me whether you would probably agree or not agree with the inclusion of each of these provisions? [Percentage agree shown.]
--Freedom of speech: allowing all citizens to express their opinion on the political, social, and economic issues of the day.
--Freedom of religion: allowing all citizens to observe any religion of their choice and to practice its teachings and beliefs.
--Freedom of assembly: allowing all citizens to assemble or congregate for any reason or in support of any cause.
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