Egypt’s slow journey away from military rule
We should have known the name of the new Egyptian President today, but the election committee said it needed more time to investigate complaints from the two candidates.
Egyptians don’t believe a word of it. They know from bitter experience what’s likely to be going on.
Either the military are rigging the results, they say, so that their candidate General Ahmed Shafiq, comes out as victor or they’re negotiating with the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of his rival Mohammed Morsi, who is widely believed to have won.
So it’s back to square one – the Muslim Brotherhood and the military are struggling for power, as they have done for more than half a century. Sometimes they fight, sometimes they negotiate. But the central divide in Egyptian politics remains the same.
The young revolutionaries who spearheaded last year’s uprising have been pushed to one side. “The secular political parties and youth groups are divided between choosing one of the two evils, and the entire debate is on which is the lesser evil at the moment,” said Amr Gharbeia of the pressure group, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.
This is what Egyptians call the “deep state”, the sclerotic power structures which endure whatever happens on the surface.
Last week, the military council dissolved the freely elected, Muslim Brotherhood-dominated parliament.
Whoever is announced as president will wield limited power – the military announced that it would retain control of foreign policy, security, the army, the budget and the process of writing a new constitution.
The revolution in Egypt, it seems, didn’t take just 18 days last February – it has a long way to go.
But Maha Azzam of Chatham House thinks the eventual demise of the old generals is inevitable – the revolution continues. “The old generals are on the defensive,” she said. “But ultimately they’re going downhill.”
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