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Analysis of the results of Egypt Presidential Race
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Analysis of the results of Egypt Presidential Race
By: - TAWFIK HAMID

 

The near-final results of the Egyptian presidential elections indicate that the final elections are likely to be between Mohamed Mursy of the Muslim Brotherhood and Ahmed Shafik who represents the old guard of the Mubarak regime.
The results indicate that Mursy got around (25%) of the votes, followed by Shafik (24%). Other main candidates include Hamdeen Sabahy- a left wing liberal and strong supporter of Nasser (22%), Abu Elfootooh - who is presented as a 'liberal' Muslim (17%) and Amr Moussa -the former Egyptian Foreign Minister during Mubarak's regime and former head of the Arab League (12%).
These results shows that we have 3 main groups of voters in this elections
1-     Group 1: Those who are very serious about implementing strict Sharia Law in the country (such as Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi supporters) voted for Mursy (25%).
 
2-   Group 2: Those who care more about Social Justice supported AboulFotouh and Sabahi (Total: 39% )
 
 
3-   Group 3: Those who care for regaining the Stabilityduring Mubarak regime supported Shafik and Moussa (Total: 36%)
 
These results raise several important points.
1- They clearly indicate that the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) suffered a significant decline in popularity in the last few months since their historical control of the Parliament with more than 45% of the Votes. In fact with most Salafi groups (who won more than 25% of parliamentary votes) ultimatelysupporting the MB candidate, it was expected that Mursy will get at least 70% of the votes. Many leaders of the MB were pretty confident that their candidate will certainly win the presidential race from the first round. The above mentioned results are considered a big blow to the expectations of the Islamists. Reasons for the decline of the MB include bad performance in the parliament, breaking their words word and promises on several issues, and a very negative image of some Islamist parliamentarians. The lack of charisma of Mursy just made things worse for the MB.
 
2-The results also indicate that a significant percentage ofEgyptians are turning against the idea of Egypt becoming a religious state since almost all supporters of Shafik, Sabahy and Moussa (approximately 58 % of the voters) are supporters of a secular state. A small percentage of the supporters of Abu Elfootoh could be also added to the latter group as several liberals supported Abu Elfootoh based on their expectations that he will not adopt strict Sharia Laws and will allow citizens personal freedoms. Many of Abu Elfootoh supporters will not be interested in supporting the MB candidate as he will be too radical for them.
 
3-Shafik (24%) has a good chance of winning the final presidential race as he will certainly obtain the supporters of Moussa (12%) and another percentage of those who voted for Sabahi and Abu Elfootooh - mainly because they are against the MB. Additionally, most Egyptians who did not vote this time are likely to be against the Islamists in the final round; if they were supporters of the Islamists their religious motivation would have driven them to go to the elections and vote for the MB candidate. In other words, notparticipating in the latter elections would tend to indicate that a person is not religiously motivated. If Shafik managed to move some of the latter group to go to the election ballot, he can have a winning edge above Moussa in the final presidential race. In other words, winning the presidency will not be a piece of cake for the MB as many had expected.
 
4-Shafik can be guaranteed success in the final presidential race if he convinces Sabahi to become his vice president as in this case he is likely to have the votes of his own supporters 24.5% plus almost all votes that went to Moussa (12%) plus a significant percentage of votes that went to Sabahi (22%). It seems difficult to have a coalition between a former guard of the previous Mubarak regime and a left wing Nasseristbut it is not impossible as Sabahy had previously indicated his huge respect for and friendship with Shafik. Both differ significantly on several political issues but they share a clear desire to stand against making Egypt a religious state.
 
5-The real problem that faces the Liberal wing in Egypt(or those who are against a religious state controlled by astrict Sharia Law) is their division. Several Liberals are ready to support the MB candidate in the final race against Shafik as they see the latter to be a replication of Mubarak. Unfortunately, this could be a repetition of history when,during the Iranian Revolution, the liberals supported Khomini against the Shah which resulted in extreme suppression offreedom for decades under the barbaric and inhumane Sharia Laws. It will be the biggest mistake of Egyptian Liberals notto support Shafik against Mursy as the consequences of this are likely to make Egypt another Iran or even much worse.
 
6-Several reports indicate that the Salafi groups who had promised to support Abu Elfotooh, in a surprising move, have let him down and did not vote for him. This may be because of a possible plot by the MB in asking some of their Salafi 'brothers' to show support for Abu Elfootoh so that he would lose the support of the liberals, thus giving greater opportunity for the MB candidate to win. In fact, many liberals stopped supporting Elfootoh immediately after these Salafi groups declared their support for him. Liberals felt that Abu Elfootoh simply could not be a candidate for both liberals and Salafists at the same time as these two groups are poles apart.
 
7-Even if Mursy won the final race, the results of these elections indicate that he will experience fierce resistance if heattempts to turn Egypt into Wahhabi or Iranian style as a huge percentage of the population (at least 58% or those who supported Shafik, Sabahi and Moussa) voted clearly for a secular rather than a religious state.
 
8-The division of Egyptians into two contradictory major sectors - i.e. those who want the country to be led by strict Sharia Laws and those who want a secular state - carries thepossibility of civil war as the views of both groups totally contradict one another on very basic issues. Liberals are happy that Islamists practice their faith in the mosque while Islamists are not ready to give liberals their basic freedoms. In such a situation, a strong military presence (as independent political player) could save Egypt from thispotential disaster as it could intervene to support a secular state whenever needed.
 
9-The results also indicate that there is lack of accuracyin many polls conducted in the country as many - if not most - major polls failed to show that Mursy will be the leading candidate in these elections.
 
10-If Shafik ultimately won the presidential race it is unlikely that he will repeat the same mistakes Mubarak made as hehas learned the lessons of the past, and the rules of the political game  changed after the Jan 25 Revolution.
 
In brief, the latest results of the Egyptian presidential race give more hope that a secular president will rule the country. The Liberals'refusal to support Shafik , OR their support for a MB candidate just to avoid an ex guard from the Mubarak regime, carries a major risk that Egypt could become a religious state like Iran - and even worse. In other words, the decision of changing Egypt into a religious state like Iran or to keep its relatively secular nature- is now in the hands of the Egyptian Liberals as their votes can determine who will become the next president of Egypt.

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