Egypt Presidential Election 2012: Worst and Best Case Scenarios For the U.S.

This weekend, in the first elections since the 2011 Arab Spring, Egyptians will vote for either Mohamed Morsi (Freedom and Justice Party) or Ahmed Shafiq (Independent Party). Shafiq and Morsi have been narrowed down from several additional candidates in the May election. Shafiq is Mubarak's last prime minister and Morsi is a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Essentially, Egypt has the option to return to a similar regime with Shafiq, or go for Morsi. As George Ishaq, founder of the left-wing Kifaya Party said in the Guardian, “The Brotherhood are despotic and fanatical and Shafiq is the choice of Mubarak. It is a very bad result. The revolution is not part of this contest.”

As Guardian author Ian Black quotes another Egyptian, “It's a disaster. Shafiq will try to restore the Mubarak regime. And my trust of the Brotherhood is minus zero.”

The U.S. is in a difficult position, waiting patiently on the outskirts, they want to “support an orderly democratic process” for their ally, but not at the expense of rights for all Egyptians.

What are the possible scenarios? One, would be for Shafiq to win. Another, would be for Morsi to win ... and the last would be no clear winner or a continuation of the revolution in the streets.

 According to the Global Post, “The quiet hope inside the American Embassy, political analysts say, is a return to stability, a safe candidate from the ‘falool,’ a ‘remnant’ of the old regime who will not challenge the authority of the military and challenge the U.S. to face the long-standing hypocrisy of calling for democracy while preferring stability.” This would be in favor of Shafiq.

The last thread of hope will come when Egyptians are ready to vote. With some reporting a low voter turnout in the May elections, in the future a greater turnout should, ideally lead to a more palpable result.

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Lakshmi Sarah

Born and raised in California, Lakshmi is an educator and journalist. With roots in Kochi, Prague and San Francisco she divides her time between the places she feels at home. Over the past few years, Lakshmi has worked with newspapers and magazines from Gaborone, Botswana to Los Angeles, California. Lakshmi has several years of experience working with the National Student Leadership Conference. In 2009 and 2010 she directed the NSLC program on Journalism & Mass Communication at American University in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of Pitzer College in California where she studied Global Communications and Studio Arts. She is currently pursuing her Master's in Journalism, Media and Gobalization in Aarhus, Denmark.

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