Following the verdict in Hosni Mubarak’s criminal trial, there is probably no one happier in Egypt right now than Mohamed Morsi. The Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) candidate for president, set to face off with felool (Mubarak era politicians) candidate, Ahmed Shafiq in the presidential run-off later this month.
With expatriate voting set to begin today, the timing of the Mubarak verdict has not escaped notice. The trial has dragged on for months with countless delays along the way. Following the conviction of Mubarak and former Minister of the Interior, Habib Al-Adly, Egypt’s jubilation was quickly shattered as the remaining defendants were acquitted of their role in the deaths of protesters in the uprising that lead to Mubarak’s ouster.
Mohamed Morsi wasted no time using the verdict to his political gain. Immediately announcing a press conference to be held that evening in a street ideally situated between Cairo’s Tahrir Square and the Ministry of Interior (MOI).
Meanwhile, rumors of an anticipated pardon for Mubarak and Al-Adly if Shafiq wins the election made the rounds of Cairo. Shafiq’s campaign immediately demanded information as to who started these rumors, while dismissing them as baseless.
While the first round election results left many disappointed and indignant, with some claiming the choice between the MB and felool to be a choice between “hell and hell,” Morsi has certainly gained some ground in the past 24 hours. While there has been talk and speculation that there is greater fear the MB amongst Egypt’s populous, the fear that Egypt will return to its former repressive state is mounting at the prospect of Shafiq being elected.
These fears are not without warrant as almost immediately after the verdict was read acquitted senior MOI military officers expressed hope a and desire to return to work. Mubarak and Al-Adly served as sacrificial lambs while the remainder of the security apparatus remains intact and ready to resume their positions and tried and true tactics.
Despite Morsi’s increased support over the past day, he has done little to quell the fears of many. Many of Egypt’s Christians fear a resultant Islamic state should the MB control both the office of the president and the parliament. His comments during his presser yesterday give little reason for optimism at religious inclusion.
Twitter was immediately abuzz with reports that he was against the verdict because it let free those responsible for “killing Muslims.” In Morsi fashion, he ignored the fact that many Christians died during the uprising and in the sectarian violence that followed, including at the Maspero massacre in that left at least 25 people dead and hundreds wounded, mostly Christians.
Current events aside, there are other reasons to question a Morsi presidency. Thus far he has been unable to express a clear economic plan to help the country rebound from the effects of the last 18 months.
While the outcome of the run-off is yet to be decided, the next couple of weeks are sure to be filled with rhetoric, accusations and distrust.