Graham urges slow transition in Egypt
February 13th, 2011
10:24 AM ET
11 years ago

Graham urges slow transition in Egypt

Washington (CNN) - Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said the creation of an Egyptian democracy would have a lasting effect in the region, but advised Egyptians to take their time setting up a new government.

"If the Egyptian people can create a democracy in the heart of the Arab world it will be a more significant contribution to civilization than the great pyramids," Graham said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."

However, if they rush to accomplish their goals by September – when elections were set to occur - Graham said he worries Islamist groups will take hold of the region.

"A rush election could help an organization like the Muslim Brotherhood so my advice to the Egyptian people is take your time," Graham told CNN Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley. "I'm not so sure you can do all the things you need to do between now and September to have an election that reflects the full will of the Egyptian people and to create democratic capacity, but that will be up to the Egyptian people."

The Muslim Brotherhood is an opposition Islamist umbrella group that is officially banned but tolerated in Egypt. A spokesman for the group told CNN that his organization trusts Egypt's new military leadership to transition to a free and open democracy. Essam El Erian said that the Muslim Brotherhood, which has vowed not to field a presidential candidate, expects to be represented in a new parliament but does not expect to win a majority of seats.

Egypt's Hosni Mubarak stepped down from the presidency Friday following nearly three weeks of protests. The military government will lead the country for six months or until elections are held.

Graham, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the potential in Egypt is great but, if reform fails, "who knows where it ends, what kind of forces does it unleash in the Mid East, so you get one chance to get this right."

His advice to the protesters was to "go slow" and "form political parties."

"Take that energy that led to bringing this regime down and chart a brighter future that's based on religious

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.

Filed under: Egypt • Lindsey Graham • TV-State of the Union
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. vic nashville tn

    Egypt literacy nearly 71 % , unemployment and standard living drove the protesters to street, anti Mubarak protesters behave good so I won’t worried about Muslim brotherhood
    Lift the emergency law and encourage smart people to participate political process (moderate to run for office)

    February 13, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Take it slow Egypt, there is no rush to establish your democracy says the bagger from South Carolina, just like there is no rush for doing anything that will help Americans. If they can get Egyptians to take their time maybe their poor will die off.

    February 13, 2011 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This is the Republicans "Pledge to America", sticking their noses into Egypt and praying to one another that President Obama is wrong. It's not a benefit to any American that our president is wrong in a time of crisis, but the President was right and that's what benefits Americans.

    February 13, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  4. addon

    Since win do GOPers, know anything at all about what's best for people? These terps only know what's best for mega corporations, their puppet masters.

    February 13, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |