Archive: June, 2012
The crowd in Tahrir Square that cheered today’s victory by Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi in a presidential run off, didn’t represent a majority of Egyptians. His triumph is both a victory - and a potential disaster - for democracy, and for Egypt.
It is a victory, because Morsi is now the first democratically elected president of Egypt. A member of a once banned Islamist group, he won the vote by a narrow 51.7 per cent last week. Despite speculation that the Egyptian military would overturn that result, the Egyptian Election Commission finally declared the winner today.
But Morsi’s win is no guarantee of democracy’s triumph. Most of the crowd today in Tahrir Square were members of the Brotherhood’s core supporters, many bused in from the countryside. But the group’s sectarian behavior in parliament, after winning a dominant 47 per cent of the parliamentary seats last year, sharply diminished its popularity among a broad expanse of Egyptians.
I wrote today in my column about the unfortunate choice facing Egyptians in a presidential runoff election – two candidates who stand for the unhappy past, not for reform and democratic values:
Egyptians must choose between Mohammed Morsi, an Islamist candidate backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, a group whose tight, closed organization and attitude towards Christians, women does not bode well for democracy, or whether to choose Ahmed Shafiq, a holdover from the deposed regime of Hosni Mubarak, who reeks of the old autocratic order that ruled by secret police repression.
Unfortunately, the majority of voters who favored real change split their vote among three candidates, allowing these two to make the cut for a runoff.