mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Egypt’s Elections: No Surprises, No Certainties

Journalists who spent the last six months in Tahrir Square and talking to privileged, young western-educated Egyptians may have been surprised by the Islamist sweep in last week’s Egyptian elections, but few others were.  The Muslim Brotherhood has been around longest and has the deepest ties to poor communities inside of Cairo and rural communities outside of it. Western liberalism has never had many friends outside tiny urban enclaves in Egypt, and beyond the ten percent minority Christian minority there are precious few Egyptians who don’t want more Islamic values in a government many of them believe is corrupt and out of touch.

Still, the election results as reported by the FT are bound to make quite a few people uncomfortable. Apart from the success of the Muslim Brotherhood, the radical Salafis are finding themselves with newfound power:

[The ultraconservative Nour party] won nearly a quarter of the vote in the first round of the elections, which encompassed nine of Egypt’s 27 provinces, including the main urban centers in Cairo and Alexandria. The next two stages of the three round poll—to take place on December 14 and January 3—will include provinces and towns in more conservative rural districts.

Again, the biggest problem that Via Meadia sees in Egypt is that nobody really knows how to help its economy grow.  A “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood government is as likely to fail at this task as any other; what would come next?

Features Icon
show comments
  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    I have often said that the one big advantage of Democracy over all other forms of Government is the flexibility to change direction from what isn’t working. Egypt has gotten rid of the Tyrant which had frozen Egypt’s progress, now the Islamists will have an opportunity to get Egypt growing. When they fail as I believe they will, Egypt will chose new leadership provided they can retain a Democratic system.
    I believe that Egyptian culture has now recognized than only Democracy can confer legitimacy onto leadership, and they will resist an Islamist Tyrany.

  • Y.

    “[After the MB fails to solve Egypt’s problems] what would come next?”

    Don’t you understand? All of Egypt’s problems are not our (MB/Salafi/Egypt’s) fault, but rather the fault of the Zionist Entity and its nefarious schemes. It is time to erase the shame of Camp David and strike at its heart. Allah is at our side, so victory is certain! (if we don’t win, it just means we were not Islamic enough and the MB should get more power. Also, it would be the Great Satan’s fault as well).


  • nicholas christie

    ate at a place called Kabab Cafe in Astoria (Queens). great food the owner is Egyptian
    and loves to talk. you two lovelies would hit it off. Kabab Cafe 25-12 Steinway Street
    Astoria (Queens)

  • Fred

    For those Americans still naive enough to believe that democracy is possible in the Middle East, a few words of wisdom from one of America’s greatest political thinkers, John C. Calhoun:

    Liberty, then, when forced on a people unfit for it, would, instead of a blessing, be a curse; as it would, in its reaction, lead directly to anarchy,—the greatest of all curses. No people, indeed, can long enjoy more liberty than that to which their situation and advanced intelligence and morals fairly entitle them. If more than this be allowed, they must soon fall into confusion and disorder,—to be followed, if not by anarchy and despotism, by a change to a form of government more simple and absolute; and, therefore, better suited to their condition. And hence, although it may be true, that a people may not have as much liberty as they are fairly entitled to, and are capable of enjoying,—yet the reverse is unquestionably true,—that no people can long possess more than they are fairly entitled to.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service