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What Really Happened In Egypt?

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Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt

By DANIEL POLITI

According to preliminary results for the first round of presidential elections in Egypt, the runoff in June will oppose Mohamed Morsi, of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Ahmed Shafik, the last prime minister of ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

For some this result is nothing short of a nightmare scenario.

This direct clash between diametrically opposed authoritarian and religious visions of Egypt’s future firmly marginalizes the liberal and secular option,” writes the Gulf News in an editorial. “This kind of choice is absolutely not what the protestors in Tahrir Square were looking for when they toppled Mubarak’s dictatorship early last year.”

 

But is having to now pick between two extremes a sign that the revolution failed? After all, the polling results show that half of the voters chose neither and instead “were urging a new-era president to take office,” points out Eman El-Shenawi at Al Arabiya. It’s the abundance of candidates that “led to a whittled-down” contest, with the “favorite” winning “a measly 26 percent.”

Welcome to democracy. And beware this “basic lesson about democratic elections: they are messy and often unsatisfying,” writes Afshin Molavi in The National. “The most charismatic candidates do not always win; it’s often the candidate with the best organizational skill on the ground who does best.”

In this may lie another useful lesson. Now it’s “the manner in which each candidate manages the political battle to win alliances and mobilize support” that “will be the deciding factor of this election battle,” points out Emad El Din Adeeb in Asharq Alawsat.

The Muslim Brotherhood is already hinting at moves toward the center. It may be the only party powerful enough to keep the old regime out, but even it will “have to learn that it cannot do this alone,” claims an editorial in The Guardian.

And if the country’s dominant political group does transform “into a more moderate and reconciliatory force,” argues the Egyptian blogger Bassem Sabry in Al Monitor, then “Egypt as a whole and the revolution in particular would have won one crucial victory.”

Perhaps the biggest victory has already been won anyway. “The results are not the most important thing about this election,” according to Rami G. Khouri in Lebanon’s The Daily Star. “That distinction goes to the mere fact that an election took place, with 50 million Egyptians eligible for the first time in three generations to choose their president from a field of candidates that offered real choices.”

 

Daniel Politi is a freelance writer living in Argentina.

 

What do you all think?

Edited by Padre5

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What do you all think?

 

There are many Egyptians who visit this site regularly. I hope to listen from them. Looking forward to comments from the brothers I know, AHMAD_73 , Nile_Salafy , and the admin dot.

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