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Egypt: the First Post-revolution President Comes from the Largest Islamic Faction

Posted on the 26 June 2012 by Cdnews

Egypt: the first post-revolution President comes from the largest  Islamic Faction

AP

On 23rd June, the HPEC (The Higher Presidential Election Committee) announced  that the winner of the first presidency following the revolution of 25th January is Dr. Morsi, the leader of the Freed and Justice party, the political wing of the not-yet legalized Islamic Organization Moslem Brotherhood. Dr. Morsi studied for his PhD degree in USA, and two sons of his have American nationality. 

 

The final battle of the Egyptian Presidential run-off elections ended with Dr. Morsi’s close-run victory, by 51.73 % to 48.27% for his rival General Ahmed Shafik.  The turnout for the final round was only 51%, that is to say about 26 Million of eligible voters in a country that will soon reach 90 Million.

 

Less Price and Longer time to have new President

 

The majority of academic and well-educated Egyptians still believe that, in wake of the so called ‘Arab Spring’,  Egyptian society has paid a low price during their  democratic struggle that started on 25th Jan. 2011 with the effort that culminated in the successful toppling of former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, and will last until its scheduled end on 30th June with the handing over of power from the SCAF to new president. In comparison, other Arab Spring countries like Libya or Syria have suffered more greatly with the incumbent regimes deciding to shell the mass demonstrators, set villages on fire, and cut water and electricity supplies from other major cities. The number of people killed during the unrest in Egypt is officially calculated as 866 (this number is quoted by Islamists on TV as about 1000 martyrs ), compared to over 14890 deaths in Syria, as announced by the Syrian Observatory – a figure that is continually growing. Even in Libya the number of killed is estimated at between 4000 and more than 6000 victims (the official number is always avoided due to number killed by Nato operations).

 

Although the SCAF was always blamed for the (lengthy) transitional period, during the entire period the majority of Egyptians felt respect and honor toward the Generals of the SCAF.

 

The main player during the transitional period

 

During that transitional period, the main political key players -apart from the SCAF- can be found almost exclusively to be members of the largest organized group of the Moslem Brotherhood, then the Salafists party (also a religion-based party who can be described as hardliner Islamists). The impact felt from old small parties and new  liberal post-revolution rising parties was minimal for the most part.

 

The hegemony trials of Egyptian Islamists

 

Both the MB and the Hardline Salafists and other religious parties could win about 70% of the vote from the post-revolution Egypt. However the existence of this malfunctioning parliament was challenged by a court case of unconstitutionality. On 14th June the Supreme Constitutional Court annulled parliament, a matter that was met with by widespread comfort throughout Egypt, but with criticism from Islamist parties who breached the law by sending their dissolved parliament members to the Parliament building in order to enter the building by force and organize mass rallies condemning the court ruling and assaulting the judges of the SCC.

 

The most influential political players are the Islamists, who had the largest gains, although they were the latest to join the uprising fueled by many youth groups.

 

The Islamists seized the chance of gaining the upper hand on legislative power in parliament in order to issue and approve (tailored laws) that breach the common Egyptian appeal. They misused their majority in order to propose and pass self-beneficiary laws such as the ‘law of amnesty for political crimes committed by Islamists between 1976 and 2011’, that stipulates the release of terrorists who committed terror and assassination crimes between those dates. The law was criticized by all other political parties as well as by many civil organizations who saw in such law a clear purposed bias that can danger society. Another bias carried out by the dissolved parliament, saw the strange decision to approve the maximum wages law for all and objected imposing the same rule on the parliament members.

 

Such bias accelerated the feeling of disappointment of well educated people as well as of some lawyers who raised the court case against the Islamist-dominated parliament, questioning the decree on which the parliamentary elections were based.  Equally, the Islamist-dominated parliament did not seek new policies to activate in order to reignite the deteriorated economic status of the country, whilst it did hinder the government efforts to achieve an IMF loan at a time when the loan could have been settled with a lower interest cost than later on with the successive downgrading of the country. This matter was highly criticized amongst Egyptian economists who saw it as an inappropriate maneuver from parliament towards the government of Dr. Kamal Al Ganzouri as the MB wanted to negotiate at that time with the SCAF in order to takeover the interior ministry before the first round of the presidential elections.

 

As parliament stumbled to take the right decision at the right time, it was an intended action that cost the nation more than was necessary.

 

Another repeated example of the biased performance of the parliament is in their stubbornness to take control of building the majority of the constituent assembly tasked to draft the new Egyptian constitution. This stubbornness is what made other political parties withdraw along with both Azhar and Church representatives.

 

 

On 16th June, the SCAF issued a supplementary constitutional declaration in order to specify the power scope of the incoming president, who will be in office by first of July without having either the constitution or parliament, after annulling the Islamist-dominated Parliament.

 

The Supplementary constitutional Declaration

 

The declaration constitutes that the President can only declare war after gaining approval from the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces. The declaration restores the legislature to the SCAF after the dissolution of Parliament, and gives the other parties in the constituent assembly, including the SCAF, wider room to veto any of the projected provisions -assumingly drafted by Islamists – with 20% in order to escape the dominating majority of the Islamists in the assembly assigned with the drafting of the new constitution. Most notably the declaration keeps military affairs in the hands of the Supreme leader of the Armed Forces.

 

The 16th June Declaration was also rejected by MB who ordered their supporters to mass rally in Tahrir square in order to demand the restoration of the dissolved parliament and to declare the premature victory for their candidate Morsi, who declared himself winner at 4pm on the evening following the 2nd day of the elections.

 

It is worth mentioning here the powers of the new president. Even after the 16th June declaration, the president can form and fire a government and ratify and reject laws. In the case of unrest inside the country, the president can ask the armed forces to maintain peace and protect state institutions, but also only after the approval of the SCAF.  This scope of executive and political power of  President Morsi is accepted by most but not by MB or the Salafists, who insist in their demands and have warned to continue with the open sitting-in until those demands get fulfilled.

 

HPEC could not prove the election fraud and the rigging of votes claimed against Dr. Morsi

 

All the above resulted in a division between voters following the announcement of Dr. Morsi as President. Added to that were claims of election fraud actions committed by MB both before and during the election, like buying votes, distributing food to poor people in rural areas to urge them to vote for Morsi, rigging votes and bribing governmental employees where the ballots were primarily printed, or blocking and terrifying Christians to prevent them to reach polling stations, as they previously knew from the first round that Christians voted for his rival Commander Ahmed Shafik. However, the HPEC declared in its lengthy report that they had sent clarification requests to many directions, but declared that only one direction responded to its requests.

 

Chess game is not over

 

Even after the win of Dr. Mors, his supporters and the other hardliners of Salafists who filled Tahrir Square for 4 days declared their insistence to restore the dissolved parliament and to annul the organizing supplementary Declaration.

 

It was scheduled that the Procedures relating to the legislative polls shall start within a month from the date of the approval of a new constitution.

 

Egypt – the 2nd Republic and the 5th President, between hopes and challenges.

 

Among these societal divisions, many politicians from non-religious streams called for national reconciliation, and called for Morsi to be the President for all Egyptians, and to therefore neutralize his ties with the MB organization. This is a matter that has been denied by the guidance bureau of MB, who declared that Morsi has been exempted from any organizational tasks within the MB organization, but that he still keeps his ideas that have been shaped within the ideology of their organization.

 

By Randa Ibrahim

Master Student in Faculty of economy and Political Sciences, Cairo University

 

This article was dedicated to ICD and was not published before.

 


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