Washington - A resolution has been drafted in the Senate by Russ Feingold and John McCain to urge President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to "to take all steps necessary to ensure that upcoming elections are free, fair, transparent and credible, including granting independent international and domestic electoral observers unrestricted access", and it has attracted co-sponsors from across the aisles like Senators Al Franken and Jon Kyl. The resolution also calls for the goverment to revoke the Egyptian Emergency Law and to release all detainees arrested under that law.
Other former government officials and academics have also joined the directive including former Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton Madeleine Albright, former Middle East adviser to President George W. Bush Elliott Abrams, Brookings scholar Robert Kagan, and Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. President Barack Obama has emphasized the need for democracy and respect for human rights in the region, but has not been as explicit in calling out Egypt.
Hosni Mubarak has been Egypt's president since the 1980's, following the assasination of President Anwar Sadat. Mubarak is currently 82 years old and in failing health. It is rumored that his son Gamal will succeed him, prompting the anger of many pro-democracy and human rights activists who see the Egyptian presidency morphing into monarchy.
Laura Rozen of the Politico notes that some analysts remain skeptical of Washington's calls for democratic reforms, pointing out that the only organized and viable alternative to Gamal Mubarak is the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood is a hard-line Islamist group not favored by the US, and has ties to many organizations in the region classified as terrorists by the US.
The Senators hope to move the resolution forward in a special session ahead of the Egyptian parliamentary polls in November.