Standard of the President of Egypt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the first turnout of the presidential election, the balloting was just 42% compared with the 53% reached in the last year’s parliamentary polls swept by the Brotherhood and the Salafist movement. Morsi the Brotherhood candidate won wthe first round with a miserable 25%, closely trailed by Shafik the former prime minister with 24%. But in my opinion what counts even more is the remarkable result of Sabbahi, finished with 21% of the vote and the liberal islamist Futohu who won 18%! What I try to underline is that in fact more than 39% of the voters sought an alternative to the old regime and at the same time to the Brotherwood. The major point is that the Tahrir‘s Square demonstrators are more and more isolated from the wider Egyptian population lacking serious strategy and coherent tactics. The outcry was ; “Asha’b yourid isquat an nizam ” , but beside protesting?
Tahrir’s square does not represent any more the nexus of power in the country and those supposed revolutionaries could stay there for months without changing the politics and the power arrangements around them. In the past 18 months a lot of changes took place. The significance of the protest itself changed . Since Mubarak was wheeled offstage by the core of the regime the protest in the square became a commonplace . But after a while its significance changed too. A large portion of the Egyptians ara becoming intolerant of the social and economic disruptions created by endless, now useless, protests. So on June 16/17th, the second turn of these presidential elections, the choice between islamists and the old regime has become a nightmare for the protesters.
The only thing they were capable of producing was a failure…. . A political failure because they did not succeed in creating a sounding alternative and the next runoff put them, once more, in front of a scrambling strategy. Several analyst are nowadays considering and suggesting, for the first time, that the Brotherhood is more likely to loose a race with no opponent, than it is to loose a race against a candidate bearing a “felool baggage”.
As I recently underlined in my several blogs concerning the Arab spring there has in fact no revolution in Egypt , neither elsewhere……..A revolution is by definition a drastic change of power ,or if you prefer, in political science’ s terms, a shift in power from a class , or section of society, to another ! Now the reality is that in Egypt, as well as in Tunisia, Libya etc,etc, the regime remains very much in power in terms of dominance of classes.
In other words the economic and social shift in power never took place and the religion did not change a bit the old secular equilibrum. The presidential elections will matter only as much a the military regime allows it to matter! They still are the masters, about who can , or can’t run and they tend to define and debate the real power the new elected President will have . The most important and serious question is now to understand whether the generals have a serious and sounding strategy ,or they are simply improvising .
The reality shows anyhow that they have no intention of trasferring executive power to an elected parliament, but they seem inclined to negotiate a progressive change with the new president. A sort political of compromise which could be supported by a large part of the foreign partners and allies …. .A step by step strategy to get out of the present impasse. This seems to represent the start of a long process , rather than a turning point . The Brotherhood’s focus is now on pressing for a progressive transfert of authority to elected institutions. Difficult to establish if other struggles are on the way . But definetely at this point , the result and solution it won’t be settled in Tahrir’s square. Another pattern of this puzzle is represented by the personality of El Baradei, a emblematic figure whose political role is not yet ended.
The solution of this puzzle reside on too many hands. The only aspect that matters is the continuation of the present transition towards a larger ans deeper democracy . And only the rationality of the Egyptians will decide on the issue
Good luck to you all.