Egypt Presidential Elections 2012: Mubarak is the Real Winner, the Revolution Has Come to a Halt

 

During the Egyptian Revolution, protesters' demands revolved around purely socio-economics; the Egyptian people came together, regardless of ideology, sect, or social status for a common goal: liberty, equity, dignity, and social justice. Unfortunately, ever since, the Egyptian presidential candidates have distorted the public debate surrounding the prospects for maximizing social welfare and establishing genuine rule of law. 

The political debate in Egypt has narrowed to a contest between two major political powers, the old regime versus the Muslim Brotherhood.

 

Two of the top five candidates for president are considered major figures in former President Hosni Mubarak’s old regime: Amr Moussa (Mubarak's former Foreign Minister in the 1990s) and Ahmed Shafik (served as the last Prime Minister under Mubarak’s rule). Meanwhile, the other two main contenders are leaders within the Muslim Brotherhood: Mohamed Morsy, who is still an active member and the president of the political arm of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party; and Abdel Moneim Abou al-Fotouh, a former leading figure in the Brotherhood who is in line with the general doctrine of political Islam. While he is not officially supported by the Brotherhood, several Brotherhood members openly support him (especially from the youth factions) and he is also supported by the majority of the Salafi movement in Egypt. The final front-runner is Hamdeen Sabhi, who has little chance of winning, but has a significant amount of support. He's a former opposition leader who adopts Nasserist doctrines and supports heavy state involvement in the country's economic activity and in the social and cultural direction of the citizenry. While he is certainly not a Mubarak supporter, he comes from the same school of authoritarian rule which has ruled over Egypt since 1952.

It is within this political context which Egypt's presidential elections are taking place. Meanwhile, the elections are also being held within a shaky legal setting. The mandate of the upcoming president is still undefined, since there is no constitution. Moreover, the current complementary constitutional declaration which specifies that the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (currently in power) issue a constitution is highly challenged on legal and popular grounds. Thus, Egyptians are electing a president for an undefined term, without recognized specifications.

The social context within which the elections are taking place is also highly turbulent. According to polls, over one third of voters are still undecided, which makes them highly susceptible to influence by marketing and the media. A large portion of the voters are also being influenced by kleptocracy;   government elites are directing their followers to vote for old security-oriented regime, while religious figures are pushing followers to support the political Islam candidates. 

All of this makes the results of the elections far from any of the revolutionary demands that Egyptians aspired for during the Egyptian Revolution. Evidently, President Mubarak was ousted, but the regime was not.

For a complete guide to the candidates in the 2012 Egyptian Presidential Election, see here.

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Mohamed Abolnaga

Mohamed Abolnaga is an economic researcher at the Egyptian Competition Authority.He recently returned to Cairo after conducting an internship on poverty and youth unemployment at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. There, he researched Economic prospects and implications of the Egyptian Revolution and social protest in the Arab world.In 2008 he conducted an 8 months internship at the cabinet of the secretary General at the League of Arab states.He graduated from Ainshams University with a degree in Business Administration and conducted a Master Degree in the EuroMediterranean studies Program at the faculty of Economics and Political Science at Cairo University .

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