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.