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?