By Ray Fleming

IT is to be hoped that the name given to yesterday's demonstrations in Tahrir Square and elsewhere in Cairo and the country -- “Friday of the Last Chance” -- was not also an accurate prediction. Whereas the successful protests of last February and March had the single objective of getting Mubarak to stand down, those of the past ten days have had to respond to plans for parliamentary and presidential elections, the future role of the military and the writing of a new constitution. Understandably, the tens of thousands who could speak with one voice eight months ago now speak with several voices on these more complex issues. That is why the military's insistence on going ahead with next week's election despite the general tumult makes a certain amount of sense even though it gives an advantage to parties which have spent the last few months organising themselves -- the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party is one of those. But while the young people who actually started the revolution rolling continue to speak and act with admirable conviction and energy they still appear to lack a single person of authority to articulate their goals and priorities.

Yesterday the name of El Baradei, frequently mentioned in this space in February and March, was in circulation again as just such a person but perhaps already at too late a stage to influence immediate events.

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