Monday, June 18, 2012

The Muslim Brotherhood Claims Victory In Egyptian Presidential Elections

The Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party is claiming that its candidate Mohammed Morsi is the victor in the presidential run off election, defeating the military junta's candidate, former air force commander and ex-President Mubarak's former prime minister Ahmed Shafik.

The official results won't be in until Thursday, June 21st and given that the military junta still controls Egypt right now and given the way other elections in Egypt have been handled in the past, the Brotherhood's claim might be a bit premature.

Even if Morsi actually wins the election, he's going to have some major issues to face.

The junta, known as the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces(SCAF),led by General Hussein Tantawi, Mubarak's former defense minister just dissolved the Islamist dominated parliament last week and declared martial law, claiming complete legislative control. Then the junta threw together what they called an interim constitution that granted the junta the right to make Egypt's laws, gave them control of the budget and gives them the authority to determine who will write the permanent Egyptian constitution.

The way the junta has set things up, the new Egyptian president will largely be a figurehead with little power.

The Muslim Brotherhood has already stated that it does not recognize the dissolution of parliament, where it was the majority party. It also said it won't recognize the military's right to issue an interim constitution or control the writing of a new one.

The key question has to do with the Egyptian military.How deeply have the Islamists penetrated into the rank and file, and the lower level officers? if the junta refuses to relinquish power and it comes down to a battle in the streets, will they fire on their own people?

The answer when it came to ex-President Mubarak was no, but that had a lot to do with President Obama, who controlled over a billion dollars in badly needed aid signalling the Egyptian military leaders that he was turning his back on Mubarak.

If it comes down to a showdown between the junta and the Brotherhood, who ultimately takes over will be answered by what the rank and file military does, just as it was in Iran.

No comments: