Splintered opposition weakens Morsi’s popular mandate

Ahmed Aboulenein
3 Min Read
Morsi's narrow margin of victory my mean that even his own support base fragments

Before even making his first decision, President-elect Mohamed Morsi knows he will be facing not one but several large opposition blocs.

Having secured a victory by a small margin(52 percent of the vote) Morsi will face an obvious and large opposition in the form of those who voted for his opponent, former Mubarak-era Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq; some 12 million Egyptians.

Add to that over 800,000 invalid votes, an official 24 million boycotters , active or passive, and the fact that a large group of those who voted for Morsi did so just to avoid a Shafiq victory, the president-elect finds himself squeezed for popular mandate.

Furthermore, Morsi may yet lose fragments of his own camp. Days before his victory was declared, Morsi formed a loose alliance with several revolutionary figures and groups.

The basis of the alliance was that these groups did not like Morsi but respected the people’s choice and opposed a Shafiq victory. Morsi promises concessions including appointing three vice presidents: a Coptic Christian, a woman and someone recommended by revolutionary former candidates, as well as assembling a coalition cabinet led by a popular independent figure.

If Morsi is unable to fulfil any of these promised he may find his reluctant backers quickly turning to the opposition. Indeed, many like activist Wael Ghonim have said that once Morsi wins and the threat of Shafiq is gone, he would join the ranks of the opposition. It is a popular sentiment among the groups Morsi met last Friday.

Furthermore, the basis of that alliance is to help Morsi regain the presidential powers recently taken away by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces’ constitutional decree.

If Morsi or the Muslim Brotherhood make a deal with SCAF, conceding some of these powers in favour of the return of parliament or the continued existence of the Constituent Assembly, all revolutionary forces would immediately view it as betrayal and oppose him.

Additionally, ten parties led by the Egyptian Social Democratic Party have announced the formation of a “Third Current” bloc that opposes both the Muslim Brotherhood and SCAF (and by extension Morsi and Shafiq).

They plan to contest the next parliamentary elections in a united front.

In the face of all the differing opposition movements, Morsi also has to deal with a military council that is not showing intentions to hand over any real power to him and a police force with a history of antagonism toward the Muslim Brotherhood.

It seems that before his inauguration, Morsi might already find himself in a lame duck position.

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Ahmed Aboul Enein is an Egyptian journalist who hates writing about himself in the third person. Follow him on Twitter @aaboulenein
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