Egyptians had been bracing for a power struggle in the wake of a two-day presidential runoff vote that has both candidates, former Mubarak prime minister Ahmed Shafiq and Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi, claiming victory. Now, Morsi has been named the winner of that vote–and it remains to be seen how much power he’ll be given, how long he will serve and what an Islamist win will mean for the country’s liberals and non-Muslims.
Monday, June 25, 2012
We are all Egyptians. Even though we differ in our views we are all citizens of this country, even if our parties are different. There is no room for the language of confrontation and there is no room to accuse each other. – Mohamed Morsi, June 24, 2012
A day after his official win over former premier Ahmed Shafiq was declared, Egypt’s new president-elect Mohamed Morsi says he has already begun forming what he promises will be an “inclusive” government.
He faces a Herculean task, as journalist and media mogul Emad El Din Adeeb writes in Asharq Alawlsat: “The upcoming president is not in a fortunate position; he is not a ‘winner’ in the true sense of the word. Rather, he has been sentenced by fate and the ballot box to rule a country in extremely difficult, complicated and tense circumstances, and he will have a high ceiling of demands and social expectations to deal with amidst the worst economic conditions Egypt has ever seen.”
Will the new president behave like a statesman who considers himself the president of all the Egyptians? Or will he behave like the leader of a specific current, team, category or era, coming to enact revenge upon those who opposed him…The more the new president is open to the majority of currents, and the more he tries to alleviate their apprehensions, fears, and their political, social and religious obsessions, the more Egypt will enjoy stability. Emad El Din Adeeb, Asharq Alawlsat, June 25, 2012.
In his first speech as president-elect, Morsi yesterday pledged to honor all international treaties and conventions and to create a system of what he termed “Egyptian values,” respecting freedom and human rights of all segments of society, including women and children.
Today, the U.S. State Department emphasized U.S. hopes for the new government. Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters, “We want to see President-elect Morsi take steps to advance national unity, to uphold universal values, to respect the rights of all Egyptians — particularly women, minorities, Christians, et cetera. So there are further steps that he can take as we go forward.”
Nuland also said that Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces is committed to turning over power to Morsi. “They have also committed to his ability to form a government,” she said. “So it is up to them to meet those commitments now going forward.”
An official source in Egypt tells Al-Masry Al-Youm today that SCAF will still have the power to name both the interior and foreign ministers in Morsi’s government. He said SCAF will also ask former Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzouri to continue his former responsibilities until a new Cabinet can be formed. Ganzouri’s Cabinet resigned following the announcement of Morsy’s presidential win.
Meanwhile, SCAF Head Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi met with Morsiy and Ganzouri today, where Ganzouri’s Cabinet officially submitted its resignation to Tantawi. Meanwhile, Tantawi and Morsi discussed the amendments to the presidential powers in the supplement to the Constitutional Declaration that was recently passed by SCAF.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
Hatem Bagato, Secretary-General of Egypt’s Presidential Electoral Commission, says the commission will announce the results of Egypt’s presidential runoff elections at 3:00 pm local time Sunday, three days later than originally scheduled. The Commission says it needed the extra time to investigate appeals by both Morsi and Shafiq.
Meanwhile, a bloc of liberal political parties has issued a statement accusing the U.S. of trying to influence Egypt’s election results. They say the U.S. is putting pressure on SCAF to hand power to the Muslim Brotherhood–and they want the US to stop.
Al Ahram reports that several thousands remain at a sit-in in Tahrir Square, after Islamist and revolutionary groups gathered Friday to support Morsi and protest SCAF for having dissolved parliament’s lower house and made changes to the Constitutional Declaration.
Also today, the Constituent Assembly is holding second meeting to discuss adding to the assembly secretary-generals, two deputies and a media spokesman. This meeting comes three days before the Supreme Administrative Court is set to rule on lawsuits filed against the assembly, after the High Constitutional Court ruled last week that a third of the People’s Assembly (the lower chamber of the parliament) was elected unconstitutionally.
And once again, there is doubt about the health of the former president, Hosni Mubarak. A medical source tells the AFP wire agency that Mubarak is once again in a coma, but not clinically dead.
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Egypt’s election committee says there is a good chance it will not be ready to announce the results of the vote on Thursday because it is still reviewing the candidates’ appeals. The Shafiq campaign says it won 51% of the vote. However, a group of Egyptian reformist judges, who helped monitor the election, held a press conference today, in which they said that, according to their vote counts, Morsi is the clear winner.
The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafi Nour Party are calling for Egyptians to return to Tahrir Square on Friday for what’s being billed as “Return of Legitimacy” protests against supplements to the constitution announced by SCAF earlier this week.
Meanwhile, there are contradicting reports on the condition of ousted president Hosni Mubarak, who reportedly has been transferred to Maadi Military Hospital and is said to be in critical condition. Some reports say he has fallen back into a coma but is not receiving life support. Al Ahram, by contrast, quotes an official medical source as saying that Mubarak is not in a coma and could survive, though he might suffer some physical and mental impairment.
Major General Mamdouh Shahin told Egyptian television today that former President Hosni Mubarak will be returned to Tora Prison if his health improves.
After having spent several days inside the prison hospital with their father, Mubarak’s sons, Alaa and Gamal Mubarak have been transferred from the main prison in the Tora Prison complex to another prison and placed in separate cells, according to Al-Massry Al-Youm. The paper quotes a security source as saying, “Alaa and Gamal refused to go out for exercise and insisted upon reading the Qur’an and praying for their father in their cells after they had witnessed the deterioration in his health over the past days.”
Al-Masry Al-Youm also reports that the Muslim Brotherhood is debating whether or not to attend Mubarak’s funeral. Earlier today, an official source told Al Ahram that Mubarak would be allowed a family funeral, and that sons Alaa and Gemal, held in Tora Prison, would be allowed to attend. The same source said that Mubarak’s death could delay the official announcement about who won the presidential election.
Watch highlights of an interview with former presidential candidate and veteran diplomat Abdullah al Ashaal. He lost in his bid for the office in the first round election last month, after which he threw his support for Morsi. He has interesting insights into the state of Egypt’s political scene.
The Carter Center has released a preliminary statement on its observations of the runoff election. Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, after whom the Center is named, has said that he was “deeply troubled by the undemocratic turn Egypt’s transition has taken.”
“The dissolution of the democratically-elected parliament and the return of elements of martial law generated uncertainty about the constitutional process before the election. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces’ new Constitutional Declaration, in which they carve out special privileges for the military and inject themselves into the constitution drafting process, violates their prior commitment to the Egyptian people to make a full transfer of power to an elected civilian government,” – former U.S. president Jimmy Carter
The Carter Center drew the following conclusions:
- The voters’ list be made available to the public and shared with campaigns;
- Article 28 of the Constitutional Declaration gives the [Presidential Election Commission] far too much power;
- The PEC tended to interpret the law narrowly, reducing transparency–specifically, it didn’t grant candidates access to voter’s lists;
- Ambiguities in the election laws led to confusion over procedures, inconsistent polling and vote counting;
- Campaigning on both sides was negative, and there were instances of campaign violence;
- Each campaign reported that the other was attempting to influence voters by providing money, food or gifts;
- Campaign spending limits low, which increased the risk that campaigns might “skirt” regulations;
- Women turned out to vote in high numbers but remain politically marginalized;
- There were instances in which military personnel intimidated election observers;
- Voter education was inadequate;
- Domestic witnesses were discouraged from observing elections.
Cecily began her reporting career in the 1990s, covering US Middle East policy for Dubai-TV English. She has lived and/or worked in the Middle East, North Africa and Gulf regions, consulting and producing for several regional radio and television networks and production houses, including MBC, Al-Arabiya, the former Emirates Media Incorporated and Al-Ikhbaria. She brings to VOA and MEV a keen understanding of the region's top social, cultural and political issues.