By Alya Essam
After a successive series of postponements, the Supreme Electoral Committee decided to finally announce the
presidential vote results on Sunday 24 June 2012. The uncertainty surrounding the results was evident ever since both campaign teams seized on the first exit polls.
While the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate Mohamed Morsi unilaterally proclaimed himself as Egypt next president on the early hours of Monday 18 June, his rival Ahmed Shafiq declared his own victory on the following day. Compounding the uncertainty created by the early claims of victory has been the wavering approach of the Supreme Electoral Committee, which by delaying the results has raised tensions over Egypt’s future to unprecedented levels.
Behind the scenes, there was a series of events believed by many to be engineered by the Supreme Council for the Armed Forces (SCAF), including the disbanding of the predominantly Islamist parliament, the judicial detainment power granted to the Military Intelligence and Military Police, the Supplementary Constitutional Declaration limiting the authorities of the president, and the appointment of an army general in charge of the Presidential Diwan. The only constant throughout all the events has been a pervading sense of foreboding.
The Muslim Brotherhood’s constant fear was the forging of election results in order to give the election to Ahmed Shafiq. At the same time some liberal factions and Copts were afraid of an imagined Islamic state should the Brotherhood seize power. Hours before the first truly pluralistic presidential elections, the Egyptian streets appear to have reached their peak of political division. Hundreds of thousands of pro-Morsi protesters flocked to Tahrir Square, accompanied by other revolutionary factions such as April 6th movement. They were motivated by SCAF manoeuvres to deprive the coming president of his ability to exert full power in the country, and constitutes in itself an outcry against a possible recreation of the ousted regime, an event which would effectively put an end to the January 2011 revolution.
This comes at a time when all of a sudden, demonstrations have found their way to the viewing stand near Nasr City where assassins killed president Anwar Al-Sadat. This time the crowds were praising Shafiq and the SCAF, and denouncing the Muslim Brotherhood and the ‘Rule of the Murshid’.
In view of such a tarnished political scene, it is hardly viable to predict that the transition of power from the SCAF to the upcoming president will take place according as scheduled on 30 June 2012. One major factor to influence the handover of power will be the outcomes of negotiations between the Muslim Brotherhood and the SCAF. Another factor will be the progress of discussions between both parties and the United States administration, which will have a great say in defining the semantics of power transition in the coming period. What appears to be definite, however, is that the coming presidential term will constitute a second phase of the transitional period, regardless of whom is going to emerge victorious in the elections.