mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
The Winner of the Egyptian Primaries Is: Inertia

As if Egypt’s liberals did not already face enough obstacles to their envisioned Egyptian democracy, round one of the nation’s presidential elections now places the two most illiberal candidates in a runoff contest set for June 16–17. In one corner is the Muslim Brotherhood’s man, Mohamed Morsi, and in other is Mubarak’s onetime appointed Prime Minister, Ahmed Shafik.

The AP reports:

“The worst possible scenario,” said Ahmed Khairy, spokesman for the Free Egyptians Party, one of the secular, liberal parties that emerged last year. Speaking to the Al-Ahram daily, he described Morsi as an “Islamic fascist” and Shafiq as a “military fascist.”

It would seem the liberals expected Morsi to make it this far, given the Brotherhood’s  organization and outreach. But protesters are particularly angry about Shafik’s participation in the runoff: his campaign headquarters has been ravaged and set ablaze. That Mubarak’s fellow traveler should triumph over more liberal candidates in the race inspired cries of “revolution betrayed” and “where is the revolution?”

From the FT:

“Neither Brotherhood or feloul,” [one protestor] said, invoking the word used in Egyptian slang to refer to politicians who served in the Mubarak administration. “We want someone who represents the square.”

Protests won’t get a liberal candidate the presidency. The Muslim Brotherhood will face off against the military, which is pretty much the way Egyptian politics has gone for the past 60 years. As usual, the military appears well placed to defend its core interests regardless of who wins. Anything can still happen in Egypt, but the same elements that have held it back in the past continue to direct its course.

Features Icon
show comments
  • Dimitry

    I am not entirely clear who was the supposed “liberal” candidate. The other candidates that garthered significant number of votes were:
    1. A Muslim Brotherhood split-off, who was supported by the salafists. Arguably he was slightly better than Morsi, but he is hardly a “liberal”.
    2. A neo-Nasserite. Now, that’s a liber choice if you ever saw one (sarcasm).
    3. Amr Mussa. He might have been the least bad of the bunch, but he is no liberal. Anti-American, Anti-Israeli demagouge is more like it.

    So, which of these can be considered a liberal? All choices were bad and worse. This was not really surprising though to anybody with any knowledge.

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    Cultures evolve at glacial speeds, and Islamic Cultures are exceptionally slow and resistant to progress. What is clear is that the Egyptian liberals have never been stronger than they are now, and they will continue to grow stronger as time passes and the Military and Muslims fail as they always do.

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