Murky Situation as Egyptians Go to Vote This Weekend

Junta Looms Large Over Runoff Vote

It is now Saturday morning in Egypt, and the nation’s voters are beginning to trickle into the polls for a presidential runoff vote between Air Marshall Ahmed Shafiq and Dr. Mohammed Mursi.

There is a lot at stake, but looming large over the vote are Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling ousting the entire parliament and the military junta that seems determined to keep its grip on power at all costs.

With parliament now gone, the election is going to leave either Shafiq or Mursi as the only elected official in Egypt, ruling over an ill-defined system of government with virtually no formal checks on their power. Particularly if the military’s favored candidate Shafiq wins, this could be a recipe for a new presidential dictatorship, with Shafiq replacing the man he says is his role model, Hosni Mubarak.

With the liberal revolutionaries having no favored candidate in the run-off, the results and the turnout are very much a mystery, and voters are expected, if they vote at all, to focus on which their fear most, a return to the Mubarak era or an Islamist government.

But do they have a choice? The junta has been keen to move against Dr. Mursi’s Freedom and Justice Party, and was all too eager to dissolve the FJP-dominated parliament after the court ruling. Mursi expressed his own concerns today that vote-rigging was a possibility, warning that his followers wouldn’t stand idly by if this happened.

Last 5 posts by Jason Ditz

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.

  • Nathan

    “With the liberal revolutionaries having no favored candidate in the run-off, the results and the turnout are very much a mystery, and voters are expected, if they vote at all, to focus on which their fear most, a return to the Mubarak era or an Islamist government”

    The above is absolutely false and whoever said that intends to prepare the public perception not to be surprised if military’s man, Shafiq wins. It also compares MB with Mubarak, which is ridiculous. Egypt is a Muslim country and Muslim Brotherhood won the majority votes for the parliament and that was the reason the military cancelled it. Quite contrary to what the article claims, Egyptians have no problem which one to choose.

    The fact is, this second time around all candidates who did not make it in the first round have pledged to tell their voters to vote for the Muslim brotherhood candidate, Murci who may win by a ratio of 2 to 1. But as I said in an earlier post, the military will still announce their candidate, Shafiq, the winner.

  • John Ellis

    Mursi is to Egypt — What Obama is to America

    Dr. Mursi is a millionaire, definitely of the rich ruling class and like Obama as president he would do what is in the best interests of the richest, which is in the worst interest of the poorest, the laboring-class lower half of society living on a minimum wage of only $3.40 a day.

    So, Mursi will be president of Egypt and he will be worse then Mubarak, just as Obama is worse then Bush.