22/06/2012

Egyptian uncertainty

In Egypt, presidential elections were held but the winner isn’t still known, while ousted President Hosni Mubarak would be between life and death. After the vote count, a judicial source said that Mohamed Morsi got the victory: indeed, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate would beat Ahmed Shafik, the last Prime minister under the Mubarak regime, winning almost 52% of the votes against 48% of his rival.

But the outcome is uncertain since other sources have claimed Shafik as winner of the elections. Pending the formalization of the results, the future of Egypt is uncertain as evidenced by recent events that took place in the country, where people protested against the dissolution of Parliament and against the constitutional amendments introduced by the military junta, which reserves to the Egyptian army generals set of prerogatives. Indeed, the junta approved a series of amendments to the constitution that entered into force since March 2011, to protect them against the imminent transfer of certain powers to the elected President: an action that many analysts have defined as a constitutional coup, which introduced martial law and assigns at supreme council of the armed forces the legislative power, the control of budgetary laws, the defense, the internal security and the power of veto over the new constitution.

The uncertainty and confusion of the Egyptian people are mixed with the latest news on Mubarak. The health of former Egyptian president has worsened over the last week: after being urgently transferred from prison to a military hospital following a heart attack, sources said he was clinically dead, but others, such as television channel Al-Jazeera, denied this report later, adding that his health had deteriorated only.

Rumors of Mubarak’s death are symptomatic of the confusion into which stay the Egyptian State, amid an institutional impasse caused by the struggle between the Muslim Brotherhood and the army. In addition, the election results should have been officially announced yesterday (Thursday 21th June), but the Egyptian people will have to wait as the announcement has been postponed indefinitely. Indeed, the Electoral Commission announced that it’ll take more time to consider appeals filed by both parties in conflict. According to the Muslim Brotherhood, the army would be ready to make a real coup in case of victory of their candidate. In this case the “Nile Revolution” of 2011 will only have been “much ado about nothing”. The conditions for a scenario like that occurring are real and the Egyptian people, meanwhile, remains torn between the desire to celebrate a new political “normal” life and fear of returning to fight.

GIACOMO MORABITO

University of Messina