May 23, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
The nascent liberal democratic movement in Egypt appears effectively dead. Two lethal blows came in a tacit military coup last week and with this weekend's election of the Muslim Brotherhood's presidential candidate. Unofficial results of the runoff show Mohammed Morsi, who champions Islamic rule in government, edging out former Mubarak crony Ahmed Shafiq.
The question now, as the army surrounds parliament, is whether the people's will can make any difference in the country that once seemed the Arab world's best chance for democracy. The Supreme Court of the Armed Forces, after dissolving a fractured parliament only elected in January, passed a series of constitutional measures seizing legislative power just before the voting began.
The reformists who ousted the Mubarak regime last year failed to coalesce, to give real choice to Egyptians looking for a real change. About half the electorate stayed home last weekend.
The military council quickly assured Egyptians it would share power with the new president and a reconstituted parliament, but that is unlikely given the veto it will hold over any future elected body.
Having dallied with reform, Egyptians have followed the lure of stability and tradition from two hardline parties. The familiar is a tough place in Egypt and politics there, and in the region, are set to get harder yet.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 19, 2012 A6