jump to navigation


Posted by wmmbb in Middle East.

Mohammed Morsi has been the declared the winner of the Egyptian Presidential Election with 51.7% of the vote.

The army is still in control of the country, but the newly elected president is pushing back according to a report on Al Jazeera by insisting he take his oath of office not in before the Constitutional Court, but before the elected, but since dissolved Parliament. It was a close result. From the video there is a sense that polarization and of course people are not used to election outcomes in Egypt. Still there is people power in evidence in Tahrir Square. One gets the impression that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces do not intend to give up power, and their economic advantages easily.

Before the announcement of the result, Al Jareera reported:

Juan Cole provides analysis and background:

Here are the major factions according to the outcome of the first round of presidential elections, in which there were numerous candidates with strong ideological commitments. I was in Egypt for that election and did a lot of interviewing with Egyptians of all stripes, coming away impressed at how all over the place the electorate was. (Obviously I’m using the candidates below as a sort of political shorthand, and there is more overlap than the categories suggest, but this is ballpark):

1. The Labor Left, led by Hamdeen Sabahi (20.17%)
2. Classic liberals, led by Amr Moussa (11.13%)
3. Authoritarian secularists,led by Ahmad Shafiq (23.66%)
4. Muslim liberals, led by Abdul Moneim Abou’l-Futouh (17.47%)
5. Muslim fundamentalist, led by Muhammad Mursi (24.78%)

Mursi won by retaining the fundamentalists and picking up the Muslim liberals and at least some of the Labor Left, and even a few classic liberals such as novelist Alaa al-Aswani. His victory is not solely a victory for the hard line fundamentalists, who probably only accounted for about half of his voters. He owes the Labor Left and those classic liberals who preferred him to the authoritarian Shafiq.

Mursi will now appoint a prime minister and a cabinet (the Egyptian system is a bit like that of France), and he may well reward his non-fundamentalist allies with key cabinet posts. (That pluralism is exactly what did not happen in Iran after the fall of the Mehdi Bazargan government with the Hostage Crisis of 1979).

Moreover, if in fact Egypt now moves to a new constitution and new parliamentary elections by the end of this year, the more diverse political landscape revealed by the first round of the presidential elections may get reflected in parliament in a way that did not happen in the first election after the revolution. I argue that the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafi hardline fundamentalists did so well last year because the electorate was still afraid of the Mubaraks returning, and they wanted to put the opposition strongly in power. Now, they’ve soured to some extent on the Brotherhood, and want some law and order and economic initiatives, and may well vote in a significantly different way.

So it is quite clear that the outline of the political and power relationships in Egypt have not been resolved, and there will be a continuing struggle, in which mass demonstrations will continue to be significant. The enthusiasm of the crowds on the election of Morsi (or Mursi) could easily be frustrated. These are not the best circumstances for settling on constitutional outcomes, which are almost always drawn out processes, although perhaps the earlier constitutions will be reworked. It is difficult to imagine how inference from the US will not be detrimental. The world, not least the people of the Middle East, would be better off without violence and power politics associated with oil.



No comments yet — be the first.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: